Earlier this month, T.I. faced considerable backlash for saying he goes to the gynecologist with his daughter Deyjah to “check her hymen.”
On Monday afternoon, T.I. and his wife Tiny sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris on Red Table Talk to address the controversial comments.
Right off the bat, Jada plainly asked T.I. about it. He said, “From a place of truth, I began to embellish and exaggerate. I think a lot of people took it extremely literal.”
“Who I am as a father — honestly, I thought people knew me better than that.”
When Jada asked him if in the moment he understood the sensitivity of the situation, T.I. said, “No, but I do now. However, my intentions have terribly misconstrued and misconceived.”
“Never said I was in any exam room, never said it was being done present-day, never said that her mother wasn’t present,” he added. Tiny said Deyjah went with T.I. and her mother when Deyjah was 15.
When asked if Deyjah’s mother welcomed T.I.’s “presence at the doctor,” T.I. said, “Absolutely. There was never any objection. She did have a problem with me talking about it, though, and I am incredibly apologetic — to her — for that. Not to any of these other strangers and any of these weirdos who toss lies around for fun.”
“She understands my intentions and who I am — and who I’ve always been.”
When Jada emphasized how the situation focused on something that was very intimate, T.I. said, “I didn’t get it, but I am now sensitive to it for her.”
“I wanna know the purpose and place of a father in this society. A father like myself that wants to be involved and attentive as me — we could draw the conclusion that we just donate sperm and pay for things.”
“I don’t think anyone has a problem with you protecting your daughter,” Jada said. “It’s the hymen. Having been a young girl myself, having raised several young women, and realizing a woman’s journey, in regards to her sexuality, has to be guided mostly by mothers. That’s just me personally. Mother takes her daughter’s hand and walks her through.”
“That’s how I worked it out with Will [Smith],” Jada continued. “There’s certain things about raising a man that I can’t know. I would say, ‘Love your daughter. Let me teach her.'”
T.I. pushed back, saying, “I’m talking about all the slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys, who want to defile and destroy the sanctity … The thing that’s the most important in my life — I’m going to deal with that with extreme care.”
“I’m not there to protect ‘virginity,'” T.I. added. “I just know that is a big move. Once you make that move, there are a lot of big things that follow. You have to be equipped. I don’t know if you’re equipped. Awareness is my first line of defense.”
“That’s different,” Jada said. “That’s education. You only have but so much control.”
When asked what would happen if Deyjah was pregnant, T.I. said, “You ended your childhood. It’s time to begin adulthood. You must heighten the level of responsibility. You need to have a plan.”
Jada then schooled T.I. in Feminism 101. “Here’s what you need to understand. There’s a patriarchal structure — it’s structured by the views and outlook of men. It tends to be, at times, oppressive to the feminine journey.”
“There’s a lot that happens in the feminine journey. It’s often told and seen and led through the eyes of men, who know nothing of what we’re going through.”
The interview ended with Jada concluding that this was a teachable moment. Yes, it definitely was.
You can watch the full interview here, and be sure to turn into part two of Red Table Talk with T.I.