He may be a music superstar – but these days Usher is more interested in fatherhood than hit records.
The 29-year-old singer debuts his namesake 9-month-old son Usher Raymond V on the August cover of Essence magazine, and says that raising his son is a responsibility he takes very seriously.
“Now I represent what he is to become,” Usher says about his son. “He’s gonna admire me, he’s gonna look up to me. He’s gonna say, ‘I wanna be’ – or he should say – ‘I wanna be like my father. I wanna be a man of valor. I wanna possess what my father has as a man.'”
Though the singer’s relationship with his own father, Usher Raymond III, was troubled, he says, “I don’t judge my father because I forgave him for anything he’d ever done to hurt me unintentionally.”
However, Usher’s childhood has colored his views on fatherhood. “You should never abandon that responsibility, which is to be there, reading with your child, being supportive of your child’s growth,” he says when asked what advice he’d give to young parents.
Usher, who recently told PEOPLE that his 2007 marriage to Tameka Foster put him in a “great place”, adds that baby Usher Raymond V is an “extension of his union” with Foster.