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Entertainment & Arts

T.I. didn’t think ‘joking’ about daughter’s hymen would stir such a backlash

Rapper T.I. reacts to a question on Red Table Talk
Rapper T.I. in a screen grab from Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk series.
(Facebook)

Rapper T.I., with an OK from his daughter Deyjah Harris, has clarified his recent statements regarding policing her hymen and her virginity.

“Hymen-gate,” as he called it on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook series Red Table Talk in a segment posted Monday, was born of a conversation he was having in “a very joking manner” about how he handles parenting in this day and age.

“From a place of truth, I began to embellish and exaggerate and I think that a lot of people kind of took it extremely literal,” T.I. said of his comments on a recent episode of the “Ladies Like Us” podcast. “I honestly thought people knew me better than that,” he added.

T.I. said he takes his daughter for annual hymen tests, but a sexual health educator says that’s “not a measure of virginity” — nor should it be.
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T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr. and who’s also known as Tip, said he had no idea how sensitive people would be to a blunt discussion of the state of his daughter’s hymen. “Nooooo, I did not,” he said, with an amazed look on his face. “I understand it now. Yes, I do, absolutely.”

That said, he feels like his actions have been misrepresented.

“I never said I was in any exam room. That is an assumption. That is a falsity. I never said it was being done present day, as an 18 year old. I never said that her mother wasn’t present.”

His wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris, noted that the exams Tip was talking about happened when Deyjah was 15 and 16, and said Tip was “just present” in the office but hadn’t made the appointments.

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“I am here to protect all of the children from themselves,” he said, referring to his own kids, “until they make it to a point where they have awareness, a sense of self and discernment to be able to make certain decisions on their own that will affect their lives indefinitely.”

Deyjah was mortified that her father had spoken about such a personal issue, the rapper said, but she told him to “let it go” in the immediate aftermath of the podcast. Recently, she changed her mind.

“I didn’t get it. I was oblivious to it. I am now sensitive to it for her,” T.I. said. “When the No. 2 hit the fan and I hadn’t addressed it, at her request, I was taking the bullets. And I’m fine in the fire.”

The Ladies Like Us podcasters apologized Thursday for how they reacted to rapper T.I. talking about having his virgin daughter’s hymen checked annually.

He said that if he hadn’t gotten “different directives” from his daughter, he would still be sitting in silence.

“Since she turned 18,” he said, “I don’t have control of anything.”


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