I am noticing a trend here. When black celebrities make devastating mistakes in their lives and get huge waves of negative PR and internet backlash, they visit the Red Table Talk. Jada, Willow and Gammy have announced the newest member to the lineup: our friendly neighborhood hymen inspector, TI! Personally, I did not mind the segment with Jordyn Woods. She was young and surrounded herself with women who behaved a certain way, when she chose to emulate the same behaviour towards them, they wanted to cry foul. (I’m not saying that I necessarily believed her narrative, but she doesn’t deserve to have her life destroyed for what she did. Somewhere between their story and hers is the truth. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.) However, this situation, to me, is different.
I personally believe that TI does not need an opportunity to say his piece. He literally had a chance to share his thoughts and chose to publicly embarrass his daughter. (In case you have forgotten the drama, Penny and I wrote about the situation here and here, respectively.) I did not want to hear this vile creature spin the narrative, pee on our legs and tell us it is raining. (However, if I am doing it for you all, I can bear it.) I had a lot of thoughts prior to the interview: Is he going to address the cheating scandals? Are we going to have to hear all about his troubled upbringing? Will he make amends with his daughter? Will he create an accountability system for his son too? All of these questions abound in my mind.
Even more questions came into my mind. Why does the toxic person continue to be the centre of the story? Why doesn’t Deyjah get the chance to speak for herself? I am sure a lot of people would love to hear about her personal love life and relationship journey. If that is not something that she would like to share, they could have focused their segment on her desire to remain a normal person, and the activities she enjoys in her daily life. I personally would have loved hearing her story.
I hope that you will take the time to watch this segment. It is worth noting that Willow was not there for the segment either. As this booking was made specifically surrounding the controversy of TI’s daughter, why was the only young woman on the panel not there? Is this still a “children must be seen and not heard” scenario? Will they do a follow-up interview with Deyjah and Willow? I did like that Will Smith did not sit down with TI during the segment. It was important to have TI answer to the women of the world, and the women within the room. I think having a man in the room would have allowed TI to think he had an ally in his corner and to act in a more belligerent or condescending way.
TI now claims he was joking and exaggerating. A rapper once said, “Well, we don’t believe you, you need more people.” The fact that Deyjah unfollowed TI and Tiny, and liked comments that people said critiquing the situation, tells me that this is probably more true than not. Of course, you have TI and Tiny hippity-hopping and tap dancing to explain the situation:
It bothers me that this man was allowed to introduce the narrative from the jump and continue to spin it according to his liking. They let him sit there and call us weirdos for being concerned about his daughter’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Did we ask for this information? How are you going to put content on Al Gore’s internet, and get upset when people react? TI was allowed to ask, “What is the purpose and place of a father in this society?” Is he the interviewer or the interviewee? Sir, that was not the subject at hand. You are not going to extrapolate concepts with superfluous language in order to camouflage your true self. (In other words, you are not going to throw in a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, big words and random ideas to distract from who you are.) You are dead wrong for bringing this up and pivoting the subject at hand.
Your place, as a father, is a guide and mentor. Your place, as a father, is out of your daughter’s literal vagina. Does that help? I am one of those black girls who grew up in a two-parent household. I won’t say much on my folks, as they warned me against that from the beginning of social media. That said, my father (nor my mother) has ever taken me to the doctor to get a hymen check. You know what they do? They listen to me. They talk to me. They are not perfect, but I do see how they have tried to be better than their parents.
Claiming that men have no say-so in their children’s lives tells me that you completely missed the point. We women want men to take their place as fathers, and to be more involved. I know that I would have been a hot mess if I did not have my father. I was not emotionally strong enough to grow up without one. My mom and I butt heads a lot growing up, so having him there was a lifesaver. He was always there to listen to me, give great advice and love me.
That said, there are certain things that men need to leave to women, and vice-versa. Same gender parents have been through similar life changes and experiences, and those children need that support. (Again, I realize that I am speaking from a heteronormative perspective… moving on.) My dad was nowhere to be found when my mom told me about puberty and sex, and I’m grateful for that. We (dad and I) had some conversations here and there when needed, like when some situation or TV show mentioned something, but these conversations were done with love and respect, with the purpose of passing on needed wisdom.
You do not need intimate details on your daughter’s sexual maturation and activity to be an influence in her life. I have no issue with parents talking to their children about their sex life, but making them go to the doctor, get hymen checks and having the doctor give you the results, is just too invasive. Honestly, if my father had ever put me through that, and then announced it to the world, I would probably either kill myself or drop off the face of the earth. Deyjah is a better woman than me. If I had a father who was “present” like that, I would rather have had none.
(My face during the nonsense matched Gammy’s, with 12:25 minutes to spare.)
I personally feel like they really handled TI with kid gloves. You could see the looks on Gammy’s face, and how measured she was with what she said. Jada had a bit of that going on too. She even ended up laughing at his stupid behind with 11:51 minutes left in the video. At that moment, he stated that he didn’t want boys putting their nasty hands to destroy and defile this precious sanctity that he has [the laughter starts here so we’ll have to guess – created? Preserved? WHY IS THIS ALL ABOUT YOU SIR?!] TI made a rather telling statement, “Anything that is the most important to me in my life, I am going to deal with that with very extreme care.” That tells me all I need to know of how he treats his daughter versus his wife. (Yes, I went there.) He then claimed that he wants to protect all of his children, but there are reports that his 14-year-old son is already sexually active, and I don’t see him doing a thing about it.
It was weird to me that TI would say that his daughter becomes a woman once she has sex, and then has all the responsibilities of adulthood. So, for those of us who have not had sex, despite being past the age of adulthood, does that make us children? For a man with such a big vocabulary, he really should know what the term “patriarchy” means, out here stammering like a fool. Better yet, he read something other than a dictionary. Read some books on empowering women and your daughters. Hearing all of this foolishness makes me more worried for the young girls he currently has. I know one thing: there is no man on God’s green earth who is going to do a hymen check on my baby girl. Absolutely not. (Neck rolls and finger snaps are included with that statement.)
I also felt like Jada and Gammy did too much speaking for TI. He’s a big man who reads, and is very used to speaking for himself. All he really did was say, “I’m just trying to be a good father who is involved. What’s wrong with that?!” 50 billion different ways, while Gammy and Jada did a PR spin, spoon feeding him all the lines that he was supposed to say and on what he meant and/or intended. Again, this is a man with a big platform, who could say, retract or revised anything he liked. I am sad to say it, but we probably all would have listened to, watched or read it.
The reality is that these are famous people who run in the same circles, so they still have to play it safe. With the magic of the Red Table, TI will probably live to see another day. That said, I don’t feel that anyone made any real change here, or really learned anything, to be honest. All I see is a man who made it out of the ghetto, but the ghetto did not make it out of him. In the words of Randy Jackson, “It’s a no for me, dawg.”
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