Brian McKnight took to Instagram with a sweet tribute in honor of his stepson Jack’s 21st birthday, but some angry internet users weren’t too thrilled to see the “Back at One” singer showing love to only his non-biological child. 

The drama started Sept. 6, when McKnight posted a photo carousel of beautiful moments shared with the 21-year-old young man on Instagram. Jack is the biological son of the R&B Crooner’s second wife, Leilani McKnight.

I cannot believe that you turned 21 today!! It seems just like yesterday that your mom blessed me with you and your sister, and we all became a family, but that was over 10 years ago,” the R&B singer wrote. 

Further along in the lengthy birthday tribute, the Grammy Award-winner gushed about how “proud” he was to be Jack’s stepfather. “The bond that we have forged is undeniable, and every day it grows even stronger. I tell your mom every day how in awe I am of her because of everything she is to me, and watching her be the best mother I’ve ever seen makes me wanna be the best father I can be to you, Julia, and now baby Brian,” the singer gushed on.

Before signing off, the “Anytime” hitmaker encouraged Jack to “keep” up the good work in school and praised the 21-year-old youngin for being “a great example” for his little brother, Brian. 

“Just know that we are so proud of you and the man that you are becoming. I love you so much, my man. Happy 21st birthday. “


Internet users slammed McKnight for showing his stepson more love than his biological children.

McKnight’s loving birthday tribute to Jack wasn’t well received. Instead of sending the youngster birthday wishes, some users claimed that McKnight showed more love to his stepchildren than his biological kids. Naysayers pointed to the 2019 internet spat that the singer had with his biological son and daughter, Brian McKnight Jr. and Briana McKnight after they called him out for being a deadbeat dad on Instagram.

“So sad to see a black man not recognize his biological children from previous relationship. It’s as if some sort of witchcraft has been put on him,” one user opined.

Another upset fan commented, “You’re pathetic. Who cares, where yo black sons at!”

A third user bothered by McKnight’s post penned, “That is such a slap in the face to his ex-wife and his biological kids…sad! My heart hurts for his sons.”

In a since-deleted Instagram post, the first Brian Jr. claimed that the singer “abandoned” him and his siblings at a young age. The aspiring musician also alleged that his superstar father didn’t spend time with his grandchildren.

“I don’t think there is any situation that merits the way my father has chosen to treat my brother, my sisters, and his grandchildren, one of which being his firstborn’s, firstborn son, who also bears our name,” he wrote. 

Briana echoed similar grievances. In a since-deleted Instagram post, she detailed the pain she suffered due to her father’s abandonment.

“I grew up thinking that the things that happened to me and my dad’s relationship was my fault,” her emotional post read. 

As negative comments flooded McKnight’s sweet birthday tribute, some users stepped in to defend the 54-year-old star. 

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. Leave this man and his family alone!!” wrote one supporter, who reminded trolls that it wasn’t right to judge McKnight without hearing both sides of the story. “We don’t know what happen between him and his biological kids for why he doesn’t claim them, so stop because that’s between him and his kids,” the stan added.

Another pro-McKnight user wrote, “So he can’t bond with his stepkids because his biological kids don’t wanna bond? Just because you birth or is the biological parents don’t mean that your kids gonna automatically love you. He had to go on with his life. He can’t spend the rest of his life asking for them grown-ass people to love him.”

A third fan chimed in,” I can not believe how many angry and lost people commenting here. They want to fix someone else’s life instead just appreciate the beautiful post Brian did. Absolutely unbelievable the toxic world that we live. Everyone is so hurt and jealous here.”

Before limiting comments on the post, McKnight sent a fair warning to the trolls bashing his sweet birthday tribute. “Continue to lurk and follow me if you must, but spew your nonsense and negativity elsewhere #trolls,” he wrote.


McKnight responded to Brian Jr. and Briana’s abandonment claims in 2019.

In a since-deleted Instagram video titled “Today’s Nonsense,” the patriarch condemned Brian Jr. and Briana for spreading “heinous” rumors about his parenting skills.

He claimed he was “estranged” from his children due to their “entitled” behavior. The singer alleged that his sons, Brian Jr. and Niko, spiraled out of control after he cut off financial support in their early twenties. According to the video, which has since been scrubbed from the singer’s page, he gave them two years to find stable work and a  career, but when they failed to comply, the aggravated patriarch stopped shelling out dough to his two sons. 

He accused Brian Jr. of vandalizing the home he shares with Leilani, whom he married in 2017. He also claimed his wife tried to help them find a stable career, but Brian and Niko weren’t kind to their stepmother. The frustrated father said their response was like a “spit in her face.” 

McKnight’s strained relationship with Briana allegedly started when he called Children’s Protective Services (CPS) in Arizona after he heard that his daughter was having a sexual relationship with an older cousin. After he notified authorities, the R&B icon claimed that he never heard from his daughter again. 

McKnight was previously married to songwriter Julie McKnight between 1990 to 2003. The former couple share Brian and Niko. Briana is from the star’s previous relationship with Patricia Driver. Now, he’s the proud father of Leilani’s biological children, Jack and Julia. In January, the New York native welcomed a baby boy named Brian Kainoa Makoa McKnight with Leilani.

Damn, hope the family can work things out.


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