Rapper T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris share their perspectives on the recent backlash he faced for attending his daughter’s gynecology appointments.
A few weeks back T.I. was met with social media critiques after admitting on a podcast that he attends yearly gynecology appointments with his 18-year-old daughter Deyja Harris to “check her hymen.” Following the backlash, the episode was deleted from streaming platforms and Deyja deleted her social media accounts.
Today, T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris appear in a new episode of Jada Pinkett Smith‘s Red Table Talk. The conversation between the couple and Smith addresses masculinity, Black fatherhood and sex. Following the episode, according to Hot New Hip Hop, Deyja’s mother, Ms. Niko took to Instagram to share: “…WHEW CHILE, THE NARCISSISM…” on her Instagram Stories.
In our latest roundup, we’re sharing five things T.I. got wrong when speaking on the social media debacle.
1. At the beginning of the episode T.I. gaslights and shapes his own narrative by sharing that he believes the entire debacle was simply a misunderstanding when it was actually problematic to attend his daughter’s appointments.
Prior to the conversation, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson presents the idea of T.I. “leveraging his authority as a patriarch.” By admitting he attended the appointments as a method of protection, it further details the lengths he’s willing to go to assert his patriarchal role in Deyja’s life. Additionally, the idea of a major male figure such as a father attending a private doctor visit is problematic in the sense that it takes a sense of agency away from the budding young woman. It also upholds the toxic belief that “virginity” and “purity” are of the utmost importance in Western society.
2. He shared, “In the age or the time when our women, Black women, are the most unprotected, unattended, disregarded women on the planet… I’m being criticized because I’m willing to go above and beyond to protect mine.”
What T.I. gets wrong about this statement is the belief that a daughter’s virginity and livelihood prior to adulthood must be protected vehemently. This ties in with the misogynistic viewpoint that a young girl’s virginity should be intact and that she is not granted any autonomy. Additionally, “checking her hymen” asserts that the father is in control of her body and what she decides to with it. Smith pushes back by asking was going to the appointments about control or about Deyja’s virginity. He then went on to answer this by sharing that he’s there as a father to provide support, wellness and make sure his children have a sense of self. This shifted the narrative a bit and he went on a bit of a tangent.
3. T.I. further emphasizes his need to police Deyja’s body when he speaks on pregnancy, adulthood and protecting her from the “slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys who want to just come and defile and destroy the sanctity that I have—”
T.I.’s explanation that he’s protecting Deyja and his other children from what the world throws at really exposes his problematic view of himself as the family patriarch that needs to maintain control at all times even if it means overexerting his power. He also declares that there’s no such thing as overprotection. It’s ridiculous and laughable if he believes it’s not overprotection to attend his daughter’s gynecology appointments when she was 15 and 16 years old.
4. When speaking on sex, T.I. shares that teenagers have “animalistic urges” and that it’s not a “romantic encounter” even if it may seem as though it is.
Despite expressing that this was the perspective he was trying to get across in the now deleted podcast episode, it still remains clear that T.I. doesn’t understand by even sharing this with his daughters, it still is a male’s viewpoint. He also shares the young men may seek to “defile and destroy” Deyja which is a troubling opinion. This comment diminishes the autonomy of young black girls and women. By creating the narrative that “animalistic urges” are just urges, it erases the fact that young black girls and women are having consensual sex or engaging in consensual sexual activities.
5. He admits that he didn’t know “patriarchal” was a term then shares his belief that feminists seek to silence men.
Towards the end of the discussion, T.I. shares that he wasn’t aware “patriarchal” was a term. Following Jada’s definition of the word and how it stem from men’s oppressive thoughts and opinions he admits to believing the judgmental and toxic idea that feminists are attempting to silence men. Jada then said when the “check her hymen” comments surfaced she felt that he didn’t understand why this turned into a huge discussion. “Tiny” then spoke up and shared that he figured out how personal things were when things blew up. He then shared that he believes everything happens for a reason (this doesn’t really clear up whether or not he truly gets Jada’s explanation of patriarchy).
Watch the entire episode below.