Tameka Foster Raymond seemed to instantly descend into the entertainment forefront in 2007 after becoming romantically linked to former client & ex-husband Usher Raymond. Their high profile dramatic engagement, yet quick marriage & divorce is definitely a story for the history books, but even more so a story that Tameka plans to use for not only the betterment of her own life, but also a platform for saving LOST ONES.
Talking with Tameka Raymond was a true experience, from the planning process. the execution, and the ups and downs in BEtween. I try to always live by a “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” philosophy, which is obviously quite difficult when dealing with such a force like Tameka, whose book cover and content is as ever changing as the weather & seasons. We’ve all read the accounts of Miss Raymond “going off” and/or “getting somebody straight…on demand”, but I’ve also heard personal stories of how great Tameka is, and how she’s been. When I got the call green lighting the cover story, I must admit that my excitement was equally matched with nervousness; I definitely didn’t want to be one of the calls that got the infamous “click”, nor the one that goes down in the history books as another dramatic stepping stone in Tameka’s media world. I was automatically refreshed when an equally nervous Tameka Raymond actually called.
BE Entertained Magazine: We are extremely pleased to have you grace the next cover of BE Magazine!!! We really honor all that you’re doing & appreciate you taking the time to inform our readers.
Tameka Raymond: I appreciate you having me.
BE Magazine: You’ve got some powerful initiatives in place, please give me the real scoop BEhind The Lost Ones Foundation.
TR: The Lost Ones Foundation is a non-profit organization that lends a helping hand to adolescent girls from the ages of 12-18. The majority of the young ladies are in at risk environments, but some of the girls are doing well. The Lost Ones Foundation will help keep all of them on the right road. We cater to girls in that age group & help them deal with different perils that teens face such as premature pregnancy, truancy from school, self esteem, & things of that nature.
BE Magazine: So what are you looking to accomplish with your foundation? What are your goals?
TR: We hope to set the girls on a straight & narrow pathway of doing right. We have lots of items in place to bring the girls back to the middle.
BE Magazine: Wow!!! From one children’s advocate to the next, I can personally applaud your efforts. How did the foundation come to BE?
TR: I’m originally from Oakland, California & in Oakland, we didn’t have anything like Lost Ones, or at least I didn’t know about it…it wasn’t available to me, but certainly a lot of my friends needed it. So I saw a need for it because so many girls today are lost, or looking for attention, and even trying to validate themselves.
BE Magazine: So what brought you to Atlanta?
TR: I moved in 1997. I relocated with my son once I got married. I was traveling back and forth working.
BE Magazine: So are you loving the south? Looks like the A’s been good to you.
TR: Yeah, I like it a lot. I love Atlanta because it has a good sense of of community. A lot of neighborhoods, they remind me of the old school neighborhoods where the kids could play outside until the street lights came on; where as in California where I lived, I didn’t even know my neighbors & I lived in that place for years, but never even met them. Cali definitely wasn’t as community oriented.
BE Magazine: So how’d you first BEgin in the entertainment industry?
TR: I got into the entertainment business as a fashion stylist. I was in school at the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising in L.A. and an old friend Todd Russaw, who is actually Faith Evans’ husband now, asked me to style one of his groups. He was working with Michael Bivens of New Edition. They had a new label Biv 10, & they were about to come out & he asked if I was interested in styling them. At the time, I knew nothing about styling, so I just kinda asked questions & felt my way around. Of course, that was many years ago. I laugh because I think back to that being one of my 1st jobs & how confused I was. It was cool though. It led to a long career of 100’s of other clients beyond that one.
BE Magazine: You must feel blessed to have 100’s of clients.
TR: I don’t currently have 100’s of clients; I’m kinda dedicated to being a mom, & of course The Lost Ones, but I do have other things on my plate as well, but I’m not styling currently.
BE Magazine: Who are some of your favorite clients…or the clients that make you say, “dang, I did that!”
TR: I’ve really worked with just about anybody you can imagine. It’s funny because I was looking at the Soul Train Awards, & almost everybody that walked out on the stage, I had dressed them in some form or fashion. I mean anyone from Charlie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Kahn, Lauryn Hill, Patti Labelle, Genuine, Usher, Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton. Yeah, pretty much everybody that you can think of. I actually sit back & crack up because I started thinking, wow, I actually styled them all. I’ve worked with everybody. I worked with Jay Z when he took off his jersey & decided to put on button ups on us. I styled his “Change Clothes” video & “Brush Your Shoulders Off” & we did some other photo shoots & stuff. I’ve worked with a lot of people. Usher of course, Toni Braxton, and I mean I could just go on & on…it’s just a long list of people.
BE Magazine: How did it feel for your 1st styling job to BE so huge & with such a big name like Michael Bivens?
TR: Well my 1st styling job was actually for Subway & a group called 702. My 1st video was for “This Little Game We Play”. It was so long ago, that’s why I laugh when I look at the clothes. I ended up doing clothes and make up for that video. It was a funny situation, but I went on to do a lot of Grammy Award winning clients. I’ve dressed Terrance Howard, the actor. It’s kinda a trip when I reflect on it.
BE Magazine: What’s the BEst thing about BEing Tameka Raymond?
TR: You know I love being Tameka Raymond! Obviously, I love being a mother; like I said, that’s 1st & foremost. The Raymond part of it gives me a certain visibility to help others, for example, the work that I’m doing in the community with the girls, along with my other non-profit Which is The Oakland Natives, where we do backpack giveaways and school supplies. So I guess being Tameka Raymond really gives me that visibility. I do not consider myself a celebrity in any shape form or fashion, but I’d be in denial if I didn’t admit that I have a higher visibility than the average person. I like to be me.
BE Magazine: Break down the family aspect that you have & how that relates to you and entertainment.
TR: I’m really awful when it pertains to my entertainment aspect. I do not watch television, I just have so much going on & my mind is so busy…it just goes a mile a minute all the time, so I don’t really have the time to sit and watch the boob-tube. I don’t even sit on the computer often. I have assistants & a great team, so anything I need like emails, they print them
out for me, so I’m not just sitting on the Internet a lot. I do like Twitter (as she laughs)!!!! Twittter is my entertainment. Everybody’s gotta have a vice, so I like that. I like it because I can communicate with different people. People send me any pertinant news, so I get my fair share of the scoop. I like to read a lot too. I’ve got an amazing book collection, so I sit and do that. That’s my personal situation, but as far as being a mother, that’s a juggling act daily. I have a that’s 19, so I deal with his issues of being 19, but then I have a 1 year old son, so there’s a broad spectrum. Anything you can imagine from a parenting aspect, I’ve experienced it or am going through it. That’s why I don’t have time for TV.
BE Magazine: So, you were in a pretty interesting seat during the presidential election. How was it meeting the Obamas?
TR: I actually got to meet him [President Obama] a few times. He came to Atlanta during his campaigning & for his birthday he was here. One of his aides asked Usher’s people if we could surprise him, so we went to his hotel & had cake and all that. There was quite a few people there; it was cool for me because we got to sit and talk for a long time, just quietly & without the riff-raff and photographers. It was just like Secret Service people, assistants & whatever. But since he had to be away from his family, we were kind of like the extended family for the day It was wonderful; we took pictures…it was real cool. Good stuff.
BE Magazine: Were do you plan on taking the Tameka Raymond movement?
TR: That train has been going. Hopefully, I will be able to do different lifestyle brands. I wanna do things like…coming into your home & decorating. There’s so much stuff I have inside of me; a lot of it’s quiet, but it’s bubbling. The Lost Ones is a very serious effort that I think will benefit & that we we all should be very hands on with. The girls that are growing up today are the next mothers of our next generation. So my one year old, ironically, may be dating one of their little teenagers’ babies…just think about it. My children could end up dating the products of these girls. I want to make sure this generation of young women understands how it’s done, how to be ladies, how to be women, how to raise children-if they end up being blessed with one. It’s a whole bunch of information that needs to be conveyed. This generation seems so lost…to me, so I feel like taking steps to doing something about it. I’ve been going to speak with middle school girls, you know I don’t have any girls, so I get excited to just talk to them. This 6th grader looked like a baby & she was so cute & clingy; she was so innocent, but I can see how the most innocent little girl can go left. They’re so influential & impressionable at that age; they can pick up a lot of bad habits, conversation, and see things they shouldn’t be seeing at that age. I just wanna guide them & mentor them in attempts to steer them in the right direction.
BE Magazine: It’s no secret that you’re currently in the middle of controversy at it’s worst; what does Tameka tell the HATERS?
TR: I don’t even address them. They’re not even on my radar! All I tell a hater is to CATCH UP! If folks say the wrong things [on Twitter], it’s a simple function…I hit the BLOCK because the the block is hot! It’s simple & beautiful.
BE Magazine: We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us & wish you the best of luck with The Lost Ones & the rest of your endeavors.
Tameka Raymond & The Lost Ones Foundation hosted their first retreat right before the holiday from December 19-23. The four day overnight retreat hosted 30 girls in attempts and efforts to get to know the young ladies & give them a renewed sense of self.
We were looking forward to working closely with Tameka & The Lost One’s Foundation in the areas of curriculum, sponsoring a few girls, and of course media exposure; while we couldn’t secure a couple of components for their inaugural retreat, we still welcome the opportunity to support such a dynamic non-profit. Through Twitter, and a couple of close mutual friends, we observed Tameka and her team set the foundation up from the ground floor using a grass roots approach. They weren’t hesitant to ask for donations and assistance with making sure that the girls that they could reach would have a powerful experience.
Tameka couldn’t help but to reference her wonderful team, who sometimes gets weary& skeptical about accepting media requests and granting interviews, but form the first conversation with one her reps, she believed not only in BE Entertained Magazine being a credible new media source, but also my expertise in the field of education. While the road was bumpy in making sure everything was executed, I’m overjoyed to see that Tameka’s team parallel the motto’s and philosophies of BE Magazine’s BE Team…we are passionate & “RIDE OR DIE” for our goals and the entities that execute them. I ended the Tameka Raymond project with even more respect for her and The Lost Ones Foundation.
For more information on the Lost Ones visit www.lostonesfoundation.org.