Isn’t It A Bit Hypocritical To Finger-Wag Tiny And Not T.I.?

February 11, 2014  |  

By now you have all read the reports about rapper T.I slut-shaming his wife Tiny on Instagram.

I’m not going to rehash it as you can read it for yourself in the link above. And while I’m not interested in the personal dealings of their relationship, I am quite intrigued by what has been a very vocal public reaction to this story. There has been lots of virtually hi-fiving T.I for checking his disrespectful wife and preserving the wholesomeness of his household. And lots of body snarking over Tiny’s unusually-shaped derriere. And of course lots of pontificating about the perils of black womenhood, particularly how this “ratchetness” is indicative of why black men wont marry y’all ungrateful skeezers.

In a way, I am not surprised at how, once again, the burden of respectability and morality for an entire community has fallen on the unclothed backside of a black woman. It would appear that culturally, men are unquestionable kings of the household and always deserving of respect while women, who are conditioned to submit all free will (including one to wear a swimsuit at the damn beach), are treated as if respect has to be earned. I am surprised, however, at how many women have agreed with that sentiment.

I’m not the one for traditional gender roles or ideals of respectability. But to those women in particular, who do preach them, don’t you think that if we are going to hold women, to traditional roles and rules of respectability that we should also make sure those expectations apply equally to men too?

For the sake of debate, let’s consider T.I., the patriarch of the family:

  • During a luncheon held by Warner Music exec Kevin Liles at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, the “Whatever You Like”-emcee got into a fight with Ludacris’ manager Chaka Zulu. According to witnesses, T.I. punched Zulu in the face and choked him before both crews tore the restaurant up.
  • During the 2008 Dirty Awards, T.I. and his entourage, got into another fight with Shawty Lo and his entourage, forcing the ceremony to be shut down and giving the police a legally justified reason to pepper-spray the audience.
  • In 2007, T.I missed the BET awards because he was too busy being arrested on federal charges after his bodyguard-turned-informant purchased $12,000 in machine guns and other ammunition and delivered it to the rapper. Outside of being a rapper, T.I, whose real name is Clifford Harris, is also a convicted felon, which makes gun ownership a big no-no. Harris was sentenced to: a year and a day in prison for his weapons charges; 1,000 hours of community service; and some probational time in a halfway house.
  • In 2010, Harris was sentenced to 11 months in prison for violating his probation on the above mentioned federal gun charges.
  • In 2012, Harris lambasted fellow emcee Azealia Banks for daring to address him personally, despite having a beef with him personally, without the assistance of a man to speak on her behalf. According to published reports, Harris said: “See, the thing about that is I ain’t even know anything about it until just now. I ain’t even see it. I know they are going through their thing. But in regards to her speaking upon me and mine, I ain’t even see it. That is what I consider–and excuse my language–but that’s bitch sh-t. I am a man. You ain’t have no business addressing me. When you get a man, get him to address me and he and I can speak on it. But you and me … Keep dealin with that woman [Iggy]. Y’all handle that. Me and you ain’t got nowhere to go with that.”
  • Last year, Harris performed along side singer Robin Thicke and super producer Pharrell in a racy video for  “Blurred Lines,: which many described as misogynistic for having women prancing around wearing a thong and nothing else while T.I and company, were fully clothed.
  • I’m not going to list individually all of his debasing lyrics other than to say, despite his claim that his new “family-friendly” image has hurt his record sales, much of his music is still chock-full of usual hip hop cliches of luxury brand bragging, pimpin’ hos, and choppas in the streets. In fact, it would behoove most to know that the song “Ball” is not about playing catch with his son but rather how he spends his evenings childless, club-hopping, spending money frivolously and likely having affairs on his wife. My particular favorite line goes, “The club full of bad b**ches and they came to play. Okay it must be your a$$ cause it ain’t your face,” which is quite poetic considering his very public objection to his wife’s Instagram picture.

Now I’m not trying to sit in judgment over some of the decisions Harris has made in his life. But how do we, the public, finger-wag Tiny over her alleged immodesty when we seem content on ignoring – and even condoning through support of T.I’s artistry – her better half’s equally and supposedly shamelessness? This is why the double standard on respectability does not make logical sense. And we, as the public, should either call out T.I on his hypocrisy or else, say nothing at all.

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