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Brandy Keeps Daughter Out of the Spotlight

06/21/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Peter Kramer/AP

Life in front of the camera is familiar territory for singer-actress Brandy Norwood, but it’s territory she says her daughter will not traverse anytime soon.

Sy’rai Iman, 8, does not appear on screen in the reality show Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business – and it is no accident.

“That’s strictly because her father [Robert Smith] and I felt it was best for her to have as much of a normal life as possible,” Norwood, 31, reveals to PARADE.

“Of course, you’ve seen her on one episode on For the Love of Ray J, but it wasn’t every day. You didn’t see her going to school, me combing her hair, or any aspect of our private, intimate moments, which sort of sucks because our relationship is so beautiful.”

Elaborating, Norwood says that she “would love for people to see how I’m doing it, because I think I could be a good example of a young, single mom.”

The secret to her success? “Raising [Sy'rai] in a different way than how I was raised,”  Norwood reveals.

“A lot of mothers feel like they’re the mom first, with that authority,” she continues. “But for me, I’m a friend first. I believe that just being there for my daughter as a friend more than ‘I’m in charge…’ causes her to be more open with me as a person.”

Musing that “if I have an authoritative wall up, she’s going to rebel and not come to me and I don’t want that,” Norwood acknowledges that there are “of course” times that she needs to assume the role of disciplinarian. Fortunately, they appear to be few and far between!

“I know I’ll probably get flack for being a friend first, but it really works,” she insists. “[Sy'rai]‘s really honest with me. I’m just teaching her how to trust herself. I tell her all the time that my life is not your life — you have your own life.”

“At the end of the day we’re going to be friends,” Norwood predicts. “When she grows up, it’ll be about that friendship that we’ll have. She’ll come to me for any problems that she has.”

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Showing 21 comments

Gabrielle on

I really respect Brandy for keeping her child out of the spotlight. I have watched her reality show and have never seen her daughter. I have wondered where she was, but it makes me happy to know Brandy keeps her out of the show for a reason. I just hate reading when celebrities say their children are on the show now, but it will be their decision once they get older as to whether or not they will appear on screen. If anything, I feel the children should be left out NOW, then once they get old enough, they should be able to make that decision. A baby/young child can’t make that decision at such a young age.

Nay on

I agree that it’s good to keep her out of the spotlight, but she could say something about her daughter here and there. During her commentary in between never once does she mention her. She makes it appear on the show as if her daughter doesn’t exist at all. I thought it was weird personally.

cris on

Maybe it’s just me, but I got the feeling that it was more her daughter’s father’s idea not to have her on the show~It came off that if it were up to her, her daughter would be on the show

Leigh on

My mom was a “friend first” kind of mom and I was more open with her. I think Brandy has the right idea. Way to go, B!

Luna on

Wow, that is actually very nice to hear. Being a friend first isn’t something most parents would condone but she seems to have a method to her madness. If it were just me bringing up a daughter, maybe I’d be a BFF.

Jennifer on

Just pay attention as she gets older – kids can have all the friends they want, what they need is a parent.

KikiOttawa on

I guess the Sketchers advertisement didn’t count as exposing Sy’rai to the public. I mean only 20 or 30 million people saw it . . .

Dorrie on

I agree about the dad and the Sketchers ads. After the experience the father had on the show that featured his “marriage” to Brandy, he probably doesn’t want his daughter exposed to reality TV. Brandy and her momanager and dad convinced him to lie to the public and pretend they were married to preserve her image even though they weren’t married. He went public with the lie shortly after the show went off the air so he probably won’t sign off on her being featured on the show.

Gaia's mom on

Its easy to be an eight year olds friend. I wonder if it will be that simple with a 13, 16 and 20 year old who has their own ideas and may do things that they don’t want to share.
Im a mother to young children but, it seems that everyone thinks they’re doing it “right” but you won’t know till you’re done.

Jen DC on

Hm… “friend first.” Well, I’m not sure I can agree with this method. As long as the child understands that she can have her opinions, but that at the end of the day MOM’s opinion is what’s going to be followed, then fine. And as long as she can express those opinions respectfully, tactfully and at the right time – I guess it’s ok. But again, as Gaia’s mom says, things are different at 13, 16 and 20. (Although at 20 I expect the kid to be out of the house and nearing financial independence, therefore less subject to my opinion.)

Bren on

I don’t get it, is she still in the spotlight herself? I haven’t heard much about her in years.

Sierra on

Cris, I got that impression too.

M on

I think Brandy and her ex do a better job than a certain Denise Richards with her children. Ms Richards makes her children cheap entertainment and an easy target for anyone who’d like to bully her children by telling en showing so much. I think it’s disgusting.
Even if it was more her ex’ idea, Brandy still went O.K. with it and how she explains it: I think it is really worth keeping your children away from all the spotlights if that is at all possible..

Danielle on

I Love Brandy!!!!!! been a fan for years. She’s a great artist, mom and role model. Keep doing your thing Brand.

Kathleen on

Brandy seems like a good mother. I’ve seen pictures of Sy’rai and she is beautiful.

cris on

On another note, Brandy looks so much better with little to no makeup on…imo

ericka on

Funny that she feels this way now but they (her and her ex) had a show when she was pregnant called Brandy: Special Delivery where it chronicled Brandy’s pregnancy throughout 4 episodes up until the birth of her daughter. The whole show was revolved around her daughter and preparing for her.

giftbox on

Maybe the experiences around the Sketchers ad and the first reality show made Brandy and her ex decide to keep their daughter out of the spotlight this time around. (I don’t think it much matters who carried the most weight in the decision.) A lot of parenting is about trial and error, making adjustments when it becomes clear that some previous choices didn’t work out for the best. I’d hate for people to keep holding past things (that I’ve learned from) against me once I’d altered my perspective and approach to things.

Amanda on

Her daughter was also in a Sesame street video too.. just saying.

CelebBabyLover on

giftbox- I think you hit the nail on the head, girl!

ashley on

brandy is really pretty

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