Hate to admit it, but like many women today, I do my weekly round up on my favorite reality shows. I have to know what happened and when just in case somebody asks that fateful question: “Did you see ___ last night?” Anyway, the hopeless romantic in me has recently noticed a theme in shows like Love & Hip Hop as well as T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle: these men love their women! Both shows star rappers who on the outside look, and often try to act, very tough (remember when Jimmy cornered Somaya Reece’s ex-manager?). Their grimy lyrics and hard backgrounds are supposed to let people know not to mess with them. However, both have an extra soft spot for the women in their lives.
Take Jim Jones. A few weeks back, there was an episode where he went over to his mother’s house to talk to her about ending the feud that she had with his then girlfriend (now fiancée) Chrissy. During their conversation, he was so emotional over the drama that he started crying. He clearly loves his mother as most men do, but he clearly loves Chrissy as well. It was nice to see him vulnerable and open when it came to talking about the woman he loves. The show sometimes makes Chrissy look like a bully, but she must save all of her love and care for her man, because it shows. He’s stayed around and so has she (ride or die, much?), so she can’t be so bad, right? During the same show he even proclaimed his love:
“My love for Chrissy is unconditional. I don’t know how much more it can grow. I’m about to blow up its growing so much. Everyday I love her even more. I love her for the person she is.”
That statement says it all. The fact that Jim took so long to put a ring on it and did so in a manner some weren’t excited about, sometimes puts a damper on their image. But when you look at it for what it really is, how many people do you know can say what Jim said about Chrissy and actually mean it?
Rapper T.I. also had some nice choice words for wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris. These two have been together since 2001, and have two sons together (and had daughter who was stillborn). Their story is a little different because even though Tiny gets to reap all of the lovely benefits of being with the “King,” she has also had to deal with all of his legal troubles and absences while he served time in prison on multiple occasions. During the show, T.I. said the following about his little lady: “I love the woman that I am with. We’ve been through so much together and she has been incredibly loyal and supportive through ups, downs, goods, bads, indifferent. So if I didn’t marry her, I wouldn’t never get married.”
We are so used to seeing women swoon and gush over their men, and we rarely get to see men express their emotions over their significant other in a similar manner. Especially rappers, who are supposed to be upholding the image of being womanizers living the fast life. What women like Chrissy and Tiny have in common is that they stuck by their men through the good, bad and the ugly. I am sure there were rumors about Jim Jones with other women, and don’t forget those sordid allegations about T.I. and Shaq’s lady Hoopz “getting it in.” But rumors are rumors, and when you are in love and in a committed relationship, it takes a certain amount of trust and dedication to one another to ignore the lies and stay together.
Jim Jones and T.I. are not the only men out there who love their women though. There are plenty of brothers who would be quick to tell you what their wife or girlfriend means to them, and if not, maybe these two being so open about their feelings will encourage a few. What I have learned is that when men love, they LOVE. It may take a man longer to fall than it would a woman, and it may be harder for them to commit and say those three magical words, but when they do, it’s real and pure. Men are always given a bad rap for not being the emotional creatures that we want them to be, and when we want them to be. But when they finally make the move and fall in love, it’s no joke. They love with all of their being. They protect and defend a sista like she is the most precious thing in the world. Now, I’m not excusing the bad behavior and unnecessary heartbreak that some men put women through on their way to finding the one, but in the end, we’re all trying to get to the same place–in the arms of that perfect somebody. And who wouldn’t love for that somebody to be head over heels and open about it too?
Rachel Louissaint is a graduate student and a blogger. Follow her on twitter at @rlovely_1