It’s been a few weeks since T.I.’s comments about checking his daughter’s hymen went viral, and he’s finally coming forward to talk about it. On Monday, he and his wife, Tiny, appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, and we watched it so you don’t have to. They spent a full 20 minutes discussing “hymen-gate,” as T.I. calls it, and basically, T.I. just seems like your average ignorant guy. *Pretends to be shocked*
After sitting down with Jada and her mother, Adrienne, Tip quickly started to explain that he wasn’t being entirely literal with the story he told on the podcast. He said, “From a place of truth I began to embellish and exaggerate, and I think people began to take it extremely literal. If you put any of my reputation, like who I am as a father, who I’ve been, I thought people knew me better than that.” He also corrected some misinformation that’s been spread, saying, “My intentions have been terribly misconstrued and misconceived. I never said I was in any exam room, that is a falsity. I never said that it was being done present day, as an 18-year-old, I never said that her mother wasn’t present. All of this false narrative has just been sensationalized.” Great, glad we cleared that up.
When asked if Deyjah had issues with her father’s public comments about her virginity, the answer was basically “duh.” Tip said, “She did have a problem with me talking about it, and I understand it, and I am incredibly apologetic to her for that—not to any of these other strangers, these weirdos, who just kinda toss lies around for fun.” Obviously, lies are bad, but Tip doesn’t seem to grasp that he literally made his comments on a podcast. If you didn’t want people to talk about your family, you probably should’ve kept your mouth shut.
While T.I. acknowledges that he shouldn’t have publicly talked about his daughter’s virginity, he still doesn’t see a problem with going to the gynecologist with her: “I’m going with the purpose of being a protective parent…there’s no such thing as an overprotective parent—there’s protective, and unprotective.” Yikes. I’m not a parent, and I wouldn’t tell anyone how to be a good father, but if you think there’s no such thing as overprotective parenting, you might be an overprotective parent. Just a thought.
T.I. also has some views on gender and parenting roles that are questionable at best. When pressured about whether a father should be involved in his daughter’s sex life, he quickly veered into problematic territory: “I want to know what is the purpose and the place of a father in this society… We could draw the conclusion that we just donate sperm and pay for things.” Oof, dude, don’t say sh*t like that. No one is suggesting that fathers should just GTFO until their daughter needs their credit card—there are just certain topics that need to be dealt with in a more sensitive way. T.I. has every right to be involved in his daughter’s life, but policing her hymen isn’t really the right way to go about that. It really feels like T.I. is missing the point here.
And when asked about controlling his daughter’s life, he basically was like, yeah I’m controlling, die mad about it: “In order to guide or direct you must have a certain level of control. I think that in the age or the time where our women, black women, are the most unprotected, unattended, disregarded, I’m being criticized because I’m willing to go above and beyond to protect mine. And I’m talking about all the slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys who want to just come and defile and destroy the sanctity that I have…anything that is the most important thing in my life, I am going to handle that with extreme control.”
PLEASE STOP TALKING. While he said later in the interview that his goal isn’t to “protect, necessarily, virginity,” this statement feels like the exact opposite. Yeah, it makes sense that you don’t want your daughter to date gross dudes, but if you’re gonna act like every guy who’s into your her is like, a cartoon villain, maybe you should focus on her maturity and ability to use good judgment, not what’s going on between her legs.
And though he says that his control over his daughter is over now that she’s 18, he still sounds like a nun from the 1950s when talking about virginity. “Your childhood ends when you lose your virginity. That’s it. You’ve ended your childhood, and it’s time to begin your adulthood. You must heighten the level of responsibility. You can’t just run around like ‘oh I’ll figure that out later.’” Not to make this about me, but my life literally didn’t change at all once I lost my virginity. People have sex. It’s not that big of a deal. Grow up. Also, T.I. himself has claimed that he lost his virginity at 11 years old—does he really expect us to believe he was like, putting money into a 401(k) and meal prepping and just generally living as a fully grown adult at age 11? The idea that losing your virginity alters your life in some earth-shattering way is obviously dumb, but it’s also an outdated social construct that’s really only used to judge women. For guys, “becoming a man” is seen as an accomplishment, not something to be feared or protected against.
And speaking of judging women differently than men, they talked about that, too. One of the major questions after T.I.’s original comments was whether he would scrutinize his son’s sex life in the same way. Well, based on this interview, the answer is a resounding no. This quote honestly feels like something out of the Twilight Zone: “If my son goes out and gets a girl pregnant, the household does not necessarily change those nine months. My daughter gets pregnant, the household changes immediately.” NO NO NO. So if T.I.’s son gets a woman pregnant, good to know that she can expect no support from them. This kind of thinking is exactly why so many men feel like they’re free to roam around the world doing whatever the f*ck they want.
And in case you thought that specific comment was any kind of a fluke or a miscommunication, nope! When asked about how men and women should deal with their daughters differently, T.I. said he doesn’t understand why this needs to be a thing. He complained that fathers don’t get to dictate whether their daughters cut their hair, get their ears pierced, and—you guessed it—have sex. “She can give her body away to anybody she wants to without her Pop saying anything.” Wow. Imagine thinking that your daughter getting bangs should be dealt with in the same way as having the sex talk. Also, imagine thinking that parents have literal control over their kids’ bodies, and they’re not just gonna do what they want anyway? There are no words.
No matter how much T.I. says he’s learned in the past month, these kind of comments about parenting and sexuality show that he doesn’t really seem committed to learning that much, just digging his heels in and defending himself. And if he has been learning, he still has a looooong way to go. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t have the most progressive views on this stuff, but some of these things are just backwards. Throughout the interview, T.I.’s wife, Tiny, had disappointingly little to say, and I have to wonder if it’s because she agrees with him, or if she doesn’t feel free to express her opinions. Either way, it’s an unfortunate situation, and I hope their kids have some people in their lives who actually know how to deal with these things.
Even though they’ve gotten “hymen-gate” out of the way, there’s still a lot for T.I. and Tiny to talk about, so thankfully we’re getting a second part of their RTT interview next Monday. In Part 2, they’ll be discussing infidelity, prison, and how close they’ve come to getting divorced. While today’s conversation was pretty infuriating, next week should really bring on the drama. I’m annoyed that we have to wait a week for this, but mostly thankful that Jada Pinkett Smith is bringing us the important info we need.