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Entertainment & Arts

Rapper T.I. says he takes his virgin daughter for annual hymen check

Rapper-actor T.I.
Rapper and actor T.I., real name Clifford Harris Jr., ignited outrage with an admission about his daughter.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

T.I. goes to the gynecologist with his daughter every year after her birthday to check on her virginity, he said Tuesday on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast.

Yes, you read that right. Dad says he’s been asking a doctor annually about the status of his 18-year-old offspring’s hymen.

Social media’s first reaction? Though a few people saw the situation as caring parenting, “disgusting” seemed to be the overall theme, with some commenters calling T.I.'s behavior “abusive.” Chrissy Tiegen tweeted, “def did not think we would be talking about hymens today.”

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The rapper-actor — a.k.a. Tip, a.k.a. Clifford Harris Jr. — made his revelation on the “Life Hacks With T.I.” episode of the podcast, hosted by Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham. By Wednesday afternoon, the episode had been removed.

“She’s attending her first year of college, figuring it out for herself. And yes, not only have we had the [sex] conversation, we have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” T.I. said.

“I’m done with you right now,” one host said. The other just laughed. All three had taken tequila shots at the start of the podcast.

“This is what we do: Right after the birthday we celebrate,” he said. “And usually like the day after the party, she’s enjoying her gifts, I put a sticky note on the door: ‘Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.’ So we’ll go, you know what I mean, and sit down and the doctor will come and talk and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism. He’s like, ‘You know sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like ... ‘they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? Oh, OK. See doc? No problem.’”

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T.I. said the doctor always comes back and reminds him that a hymen can be broken by activities other than sex, a fact that seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to the hosts.

“I say, ‘Look, doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Man, just check the hymen please and give me back my results expeditiously,’” the Atlanta rapper said.

My results.

“As of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact,” he announced, following up a few beats later with a somewhat contradictory comment: “Who wants a virgin? They’re no fun.”

Mandi and Moham didn’t challenge the rapper as to why he thought this type of parenting was OK.

T.I.'s daughter did not respond immediately to The Times’ multiple requests for comment. A rep for the rapper also did not respond immediately.

“Hymens are not a measure of virginity,” Brittany McBride, a veteran sexual health educator with Advocates for Youth, told The Times. The organization provides sexual health information for young people through the website Amaze.org.

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T.I.'s children, like all young people, have a basic human right to a private relationship with their healthcare provider, McBride said, criticizing his behavior as a serious intrusion on that right.

She noted that the idea of a “need for virginity” with daughters — something rarely discussed with sons — was “an unjust and unfair measure of where this person’s value lies, in a thin, mucosal piece of tissue that’s unfairly equated with a person’s worth.”

The transition between a parent accompanying a child into any doctor’s office and a young person seeing the physician on their own ideally occurs around age 13, said Dr. Brian T. Nguyen, an OBGYN at Keck Medical Center of USC.

Early encouragement of what he called a “very private” doctor-patient relationship gives young people a place to ask or answer those questions — about sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco use and more — that they might feel uncomfortable talking about in front of a parent, he said. Also, it’s a chance for young people to start to learn how to handle situations on their own, knowing that doctor-patient confidentiality is protected by law.

As for a father like T.I. accompanying a daughter to the gynecologist, Nguyen understood that there would be strong feelings about it, but he noted that anyone who facilitates a young person’s access to healthcare is playing an important role.

“We want men to be aware of women’s health issues. We don’t see that enough, and that can put the burden entirely on women,” he said. “At the same time, we don’t want it to happen in a way that encroaches upon a woman’s autonomy.”

Here’s a sampling of online reactions to T.I.'s remarks.

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