Brian McKnight Changes Name To Match Infant Son’s, Facing Criticism For Alleged Abandonment Of Older Children

Brian McKnight isn’t winning any dad points with his older children.

The famed singer is facing backlash for changing his name to match his newborn son’s amidst claims from his older children that he has abandoned his fatherly duties with them.

The “One Last Cry” artist shared to social media on Oct. 27 of his newest son being of his “legacy.” The 9-month-old’s name, Brian Kainoa Makoa Jr., was displayed alongside his face, as posted to the musician’s official accounts.


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McKnight also announced that he has legally changed his own name to match his youngest son’s. And that wasn’t all.

“To the world with the release of my new album lovingly created for him. JR,” said the 54-year-old. “Because I am also proud to officially announce that I have legally changed my name to exactly match my legacy’s.”

The multi-Grammy nominee’s legal name is now Brian Kainoa Makoa McKnight Sr. However, McKnight already has a son named after him, thus the move signals that he is disassociating himself from his original legacy and family, his critics say, according to Page Six.

McKnight has reportedly been estranged for years from his older children and has been called out publicly before for prioritizing his step-kids lives’ over his biological children’s.

He married his current wife, Leilani Mendoza, in 2017. Mendoza has three children from a prior relationship. McKnight shares sons Brian Jr. and Niko with ex-wife Julie McKnight and daughter Briana McKnight from a past relationship. He was married to songwriter Julie McKnight between 1990 and 2003.

“I’m not ashamed of the name my ancestors had,” Brian Jr. replied to comment on Instagram. “I’ll never change the name my own son now has.” And, in a comment perhaps targeted at his father, he wrote, “We are witnessing an obscene level of self hate, that has reached mental illness status at this point.”

He added, “Legacy isn’t in the name. It’s in the character of the people. It will all be quite clear soon, just who’s on the right side of all this, because there’s no escaping what’s coming.”

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