Courter: Things are lining up for Darryl Wheeler Sr.
For almost 20 years, Darryl Wheeler Sr. has tried to understand his role in a
drama that involves one of the biggest entertainers in the world. In that time,
Wheeler went from managing a singing group that focused on the positive to
feeling betrayed by a young man named Usher, who called him dad, learned how to
sing and dance from him, lived in his house sharing a room with Wheeler's young
son and cried on his shoulder before becoming a superstar.
Today, Wheeler said, he believes he knows why he's had a part in the saga, and
he believes now is the time to share his story with the world.
"It was wisdom I was attaining," Wheeler said. "I thought I was searching for a
record deal. I was really searching for the wisdom that is required to handle
that power that comes with the record deal.
"I understand now. When I look back, it is the most amazing thing. The situation
with Usher was a molding process that God put me in," he said.
Wheeler said he will be spreading his message through a DVD called "A Walk
Through Time" and in speaking engagements around the country. The DVD is an
updated version of "When Dreams Are Shattered: Through the Eyes of a Showbiz
Dad," which had a limited release in 2005. The documentary is about the singing
group the Nu Beginning and includes old video footage, photographs and
commentary from the performers, local officials and people around the country
who worked with the group.
The new version includes a new song called "When Jesus Comes for Me" written by
Grammy and Stellar award-winning singer Rance Allen, who volunteered to record
the track for the project.
The DVD will be presented in two showings Aug. 22 at Chattanooga Theatre Centre.
During the performances, Wheeler's son Darryl Jr. will perform with the guys
from the Nu Beginning as scenes from the DVD are shown on a big screen.
Martha Reeves of the Vandellas also will perform, and Allen will contribute a
special message and song via videotape.
Their involvement, as well as the donated hotel rooms, television commercials
and newspaper ads promoting the DVD premiere, is proof to Wheeler that "things
are lining up according to God's will." The DVD will be distributed nationally
For more than two years beginning in 1990, Wheeler managed a local group called
the Nu Beginning that included a then-12-year-old Usher Raymond IV. The group
spent hours rehearsing and performing up and down the Eastern part of the
country, spreading their positive message to youth.
Their hard work paid off, and they signed a recording contract with a label in
Florida. Within weeks of signing with the label, Wheeler said, Usher moved with
his mother Jonetta Patton to Atlanta. He also said that Usher and his mother had
signed an exclusive contract to be represented exclusively by Wheeler but still
signed with LaFace Records in Atlanta. The move paid off for Usher, and in so
doing, he severed all ties with Wheeler and his former bandmates.
Over the years, Wheeler has endured the whispers and comments from people who
call him crazy and a fool because he refused to exercise his contract, a move he
says could be worth a lot of money to him.
"I had the rights, according to man's authority to do whatever I wanted to do,
to tear him apart, to tear his company apart, his mother apart, and I chose to
practice love and trust God, and this is where we are today," he said.
Wheeler, who owns a local vending business in addition to Comclean
Entertainment, said the DVD project is not about bashing Usher.
"He was a kid," he said. "I loved him then, and I love him now. It's not about
Usher. It's about winning the right way.
"It's very hard to do anything in entertainment because it is so corrupt because
there is so much money in it, and people believe that as long as you make a
dollar you are all right and that justifies all the unethical things that people
succumb to," he said. "But when you are really a child of God, it doesn't feel
right. You can't compromise.
"At the end of the day, if it doesn't line up with the word of God, it will
That is the message that Wheeler said he wants to share with the people he
manages and anyone else looking to make it in the entertainment industry.
"Now I can tell young people that if you stick to the biblical principles in
whatever you do in life and don't compromise your soul, you can win."
E-mail Barry Courter at email@example.com.