On December 25, 2001, after local Shelbyville, Kentucky authorities' response to a domestic dispute call, Keke Wyatt was arrested and charged with stabbing her husband Rahmat Morton up to five times with a steak knife at their home. Morton, Wyatt's long-time road manager, was taken to University of Louisville Hospital where he was listed as a patient.
On March 25, 2002, Wyatt was indicted on one count of second degree assault by a Shelby County Grand Jury. Despite doctors having to remove part of the knife from his back, Morton did not press charges against his wife. Eventually, police charges were dropped and Wyatt served no time for the incident.
In her July 2007 interview with AllHipHop.com, controversy brewed when Wyatt allegedly suggested that her singing ability far exceeded that of the entertainer Beyonce Knowles'. Both Knowles and Wyatt are a formerly affiliated with a childhood all girl group The Dollz.
If you notice, I’m yellow. My natural hair is the color she dyes her hair. I have the little waist with the big booty. It’s all the same thing but I sing better, so [it was their loss]. Say I don’t [sing better than Beyonce].—Keke Wyatt, February 2007 AllHipHop.com Interview
In her August 2007 interview with Essence Magazine, the magazine quoted Wyatt as recounting not being allowed to watch Roots as a child, [but] her white mother referred to Wyatt and her siblings as niggers:
She didn’t want us to see how White people treated Black people because she probably thought we might start hating White people.—Keke Wyatt, August 2007, Essence Magazine Interview
Hell, I thought my name was “n---er” for a long time (laughs)—Keke Wyatt, August 2007, Essence Magazine Interview
The magazine cites Wyatt as further explaining the following about her mother:
My mom was raised around African-American people all her life. She can cornrow and everything. All she knows is the African-American way of living, because her stepfather was Black and she was raised by his family. She will use the N-word like it’s going out of style. I say, “Mama you can’t just go around using the N-word”, and she’s like, “I don’t give a damn. I say what I want to say. N---a ain’t no color, it’s an ignorant person.”—Keke Wyatt, August 2007, Essence Magazine Interview
Wyatt states that she embraces her multiracial ancestry and identity, but felt loyal to Blacks/African-Americans. Despite this sentiment, dissension was sparked among readers when the magazine quoted her as referring to Blacks as they. The singer is further quoted as saying that she takes issue with individuals of the lighter spectrum who feel superior to those of the darker spectrum. However the singer was quoted as referring to her own grade of hair as pretty hair, and as referring to the noses of Black people as broad. As a result counter sentiments towards old school negative stereotypes were raised. Many Essence Magazine readers, most of whom are of Sub-Saharan African descent, drew concern over these quoted statements:
I hate how everyone thinks that Black people are beneath them, even Asians, Whites and ...Mexicans. No, I’m not all Black, but I definitely stand up for the Black people. They’ve had it rough, they can’t help the fact that they’re skin is dark, or that their nose is a lil’ wider or that the curls in their hair might be tighter. I don’t think that it’s fair for people who look like me—the light skin, pointy nose and pretty hair — to think that dark-complected people are any less than them. Who am I? I’m not better than you. I breathe the same air and I bleed the same blood. Nobody is better than anybody else. We are all in this struggle called life. I think brown skin is beautiful because people like me have to lay out in the sun to try and look like you. My best friends are Black—I mean, Black-Black — and I think that’s so beautiful. I think that’s why I decided to make my children Black... [I] could have married a White dude and my kids probably would have looked completely White. That’s not what I wanted. Now, they can go outside and get a for-real tan (laughs). I think Black is beautiful. I stand for the African-American people until the day I die.—Keke Wyatt, August 2007, Essence Magazine Interview
On a September 25, 2007 EURweb.com podcast, Wyatt adamantly denounced the Essence Magazine interview, citing that part of what she shared with the interviewer, Kenya N. Byrd, was off the record. She further suggested that other aspects of the interview were misconstrued. Wyatt disputed that the following was, instead, said in reference to African-Americans:
I think that it's a shame that the majority of white America still views African-Americans (as having dark skin) and wide noses. If you go to any African-American family reunion you will, probably, see (a rainbow of people) ...I don't look like that (in reference to the general stereotype of how African-Americans look). I'm light-skinned with a pointy nose and my hair is not nappy.—Keke Wyatt, September 2007, EUR web Interview
And in reference to her mother's use of the 'N' word:
I asked her (the interviewer) to not say anything. I was just talking to her; I thought that she was nice, so I was just talking to her. I felt open, she used it all against me; and I think she was very very ignorant for that. My mother is a Caucasian woman and she was raised black...she was called a niggah all her life growing up. That's just what they used in her household. (However) my white granny does not use the word; she doesn't like it. But my mother was always around African-Americans and people who called her that (the 'N' word).
So, if you're used to hearing something in the house all your life growing up as a child, don't you usually use the same words that you heard yourself being called? ...So many African-Americans have been using the word for so long that it's going to be kind of hard to stop that.
I've talked to my mother. She feels very angry, very hurt and very misunderstood. She simply says that "I don't mean any harm; I simply can not help the way that I was raised. I don't see a color thing. I see a family thing and a love thing." Because at the end of the day, the white family turned her away, and the black family took her in. That's how it is, at the end of the day her white daddy and his white family did not want her and her white brothers and sisters.
(In relating to African-Americans the most) That's the way my mother raised her household. I grew up in all black schools; went to all black churches; lived in all black neighborhoods; and went to all black functions. I rarely ever was around white people, unless (they were) my family.
My mother married a black man, both of her sisters (married black men), my granny turned around and married a black man after she had eight white kids.
I'm very attracted to black men; I've never really been attracted to white men. Black men are very very handsome; they're sexy; and their color is beautiful to me.
I pray that (people will be open-minded) and understanding to know that I am not the way that woman made me out to be. It really got personal for me. But at the end of the day all I really want is for people to buy my album. It doesn't matter what color I am (or how I look)... If you love good music and you enjoy R&B, that's what I sing; and that's what I do best. That's all I want.—Keke Wyatt, September 2007, EUR web Interview