When I first read about Mike Epps and his daughter Bria’s squabble over tuition funds I immediately rolled my eyes and thought if this little girl doesn’t want her father to pay her school directly, let’s see if she likes the way Sallie Mae effs her up with that loan repayment after graduation. The fact that Mike had threatened to f*** his daughter up paled in comparison to the sense of entitlement she was displaying, and I dismissed his words for his 18-year-old child as an isolated incident and a slip of the tongue—until I actually heard them.
See Mike didn’t just threaten to eff his daughter up, he called her out of her name several times and made repeated threats, which Bria caught on tape and that have made their way to YouTube. In the recording Mike tells her, “I’ll whoop yo a**,” and calls her a “disrespectful little b****, “the f***ing devil, and several others b****es before telling her if she disrespects him again she’s going to have a problem.
For most of the conversation Bria is silent except for her daring her father by repeatedly asking him, “What are you gonna do?” and then telling him “You’re not going to do anything but run your mouth,” before adding: “Don’t call my phone being disrespectful no more. If you have a problem you know my grandmother’s address. Period.” Is that the equivalent of you know where to find me?
To be honest, this conversation sounded more like drama between a young couple in the projects rather than a father and his daughter—possibly even two dudes who were about to square up—and that’s what made me concerned. There were so many things racing through my mind when I first heard the sound bite: what made Bria decide to tape this conversation? Did she expect her father to react this way because he had done so in the past? Why didn’t she take his threats seriously? What kind of men is she dealing with romantically and what kind of relationships will she have in the future?
The very first thought I had after hearing the recording was Bria was the type of girl who would hit herself upside the head with a frying pan and then call the cops and cry domestic abuse to have her boyfriend locked up because he made her mad that day. Her calmness on the phone with her father was striking and you could almost sense the undertone of, “yeah I got you right where I want you.” Her questioning Mike’s ability to make good on his threats by asking him, “what are you gonna do” was so reminiscent of the countless World Star Hip Hop videos of women who verbally disrespect a man, possibly even put their hands on him, and then dare him to do something about it, only to literally be knocked out in the end. Bria stepped to her father like a grown man in that conversation and he did the same in return, except she had the tool that cripples many black men in our society on her side—the police—and at 18 she already knew exactly how to capitalize on that power. I have no doubt in my mind that Bria knew exactly what she was doing when she called her father, threatened to sabotage his career, and recorded the conversation, and he played right into her manipulative hands, seemingly because this type of interaction wasn’t unique for them.
Something tells me this isn’t the first time Mike lost his cool and called his daughter everything but a child of God but no matter how mad that disrespectful brat made him, she’s still his daughter, and calling her a b**** and the devil crosses the line. Listening to the audio immediately brought to mind the Alec Baldwin situation a few years back when he called his daughter in and angry rant and told her she was a thoughtless pig. Alec was crucified in the media for his comments, and said he even felt suicidal over his behavior. Mike is on camera telling TMZ it’s hard being a father of a teenager before shouting out Bria and saying he loves her.
So where do we go from here? Bria gets her tuition paid directly and the father-daughter duo make up? No. The disrespect Bria showed for her father will no doubt show up in her relationships with other men, except unlike her father who we hope will not “make problems” for his child and her family, and who hasn’t so far, these men may. I know a little something about not having respect for your father, but I also know that not having respect for someone doesn’t mean you get to disrespect them. There’s a certain level of honor that goes along with someone being your parent, or at least being an elder, that won’t cause you to speak to them a certain way. Bria doesn’t seem to know that, and it’s not surprising from the way her father carried on in their conversation. It’s clear this girl has never been shown a model of a man to respect and at 18 it’s a little late to try to start teaching that lesson. But what would be even more unfortunate is for a man more bold than her father to teach her the hard way, or for a young man to fall victim to her manipulative ways and find himself caught up in the judicial system by a young girl who knows the law is on her side. This situation with her father makes both of those possibilities highly plausible and the saying there’s no time like the present is highly applicable in this teachable moment.
The disrespect Mike and his daughter showed one another is beyond anything I’ve witnessed personally, but that dynamic shows up in the way men and women treat one another on a daily basis. Regardless of how out of line Bria was by filing a police report against her father, she deserves to be addressed as more than a b**** before she comes to internalize that and expect that behavior in her relationships with other men. She may be a grown woman legally but these negative childhood experiences will play out destructively if they’re not corrected now and she isn’t taught to not only respect other men but also herself.
Do you feel differently about this situation after hearing the audio tape? Do you think this is an isolated incident? Could Bria Epps be headed down a dangerous path with men in general?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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