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T.I. & Tiny Sit Down At The Red Table To Discuss Backlash From 'Hymen Check' Controversy

T.I. & Tiny Sit Down At The Red Table To Discuss Backlash From 'Hymen Check' Controversy

The entertainer opened up on an episode of Red Table Talk to clear the air and clarify his comments for the first time since the chaos erupted.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all situation and nobody knows this better than T.I. and his daughter, Deyjah, who just weathered one helluva media storm.

Earlier this month, the 39-year-old rapper set off what he calls "Hymen Gate", after revealing that he took yearly trips to the gynecologist with his daughter to confirm her virginity (or lack thereof) on a since-deleted episode of Nazanin Mandi'sLadies Like Us podcast.

T.I.'s comments triggered an intense online debate about the roles and responsibilities of fathers in the Black community, which ultimately caught the attention of Jada Pinkett-Smith and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, who invited the entertainer on an episode of Red Table Talk to clear the air and clarify his comments for the first time since the chaos erupted.

Here's what we learned:

According To T.I., Deyjah's Mom Was Totally On-Board.

While some critics of T.I.'s tactics questioned why Deyjah's mom wasn't involved, according to T.I. she was totally present. While Deyjah's mother's recent Instagram posts suggests differently, he said that both Deyjah and her mother were totally on-board with her annual trips to the gynecologist. The rapper explained that his comments were taken totally out of context and clarified that he was never in the exam room when these "tests" were administered.

His Silence Since The Incident Was At Deyjah's Request.

When you know better, you do better. And T.I. says since the incident, he's become hypersensitive to the feminine journey when it comes to his parenting approach. The rapper, who says he was previously "oblivious" to the sensitivity of the subject, got a dose of reality after realizing how the situation affected his daughter. At Deyjah's request, he stayed silent amidst the backlash in an effort to protect her feelings:

"I didn't get it, I was oblivious to it. However, I am now sensitive to it for her. My daughter said, 'Just let it go. Don't say nothing, just let it go.' And I didn't until I had different directives. [Until she said] 'Go ahead, make it stop. Clear it up.'"

There's A Difference Between Protection & Control.

While I think every parent can understand the innate desire to protect your child from the ills of this world, and for T.I., that happens to be the "slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys" who want to "defile and destroy the sanctity" of what he holds dearest to his heart. He explained:

"For the purpose of being a protective parent, there's no such thing as over-protective. There's just protected and unprotected."

Although T.I. had a potent point, Mama Adrienne's face throughout the interview said it all and she… wasn't here for it. There is a big difference between protection and control and both Adrienne and Jada made sure to call a thing a thing. Jada told T.I.:

"A woman's journey in regards to her sexuality has to be guided. Mostly, I think, by mothers. That's just me personally, but mother, in truly understanding what that journey is, takes her daughter's hand and walks her through.That's how I worked that out with Will."
"There's just certain things about raising a man that I can't know. I would tell him, love your daughter. Let me teach her. There's certain sensitivities that you just don't understand just because of your relationship in the world is different than a woman's relationship."

This Was A Teachable Moment For T.I.

While we can debate T.I.'s parenting style all day, one thing that's undeniable is that he loves his daughter. Even though his previous comments were misguided, it was clear that the rapper came to the Red Table to learn, and Jada and Adrienne did not come to play about teaching him a thing or two. The father-of-six shared:

"I think that it's great for me to have this opportunity. And I think that all things happen in life for a reason. You know, every lesson has a purpose and it must be dealt with differently, but out of care and out of concern, not out of control. I don't think that [our] community, our culture, our generation can be pushed forward by having comfortable, convenient discussions. You have to have tough discussions in order to move forward."

Check out the full episode below!

Did you know that xoNecole has a new podcast? Join founder Necole Kane, and co-hosts Sheriden Chanel and Amer Woods, for conversations over cocktails each and every week by subscribing to xoNecole Happy Hour podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Featured image by Instagram/@RedTableTalk.

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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