T.I. and his wife Tiny joined Jada Pinkett Smith and her mother Adrian Banfield-Jones for today's highly-anticipated episode of Red Table Talk, and honestly? We really could have done without it.
Pinkett Smith invited the Atlanta rapper to appear on her Facebook Watch series in light of the very personal, very inappropriate story he shared about the sex life of his daughter Deyjah. Made into a trending topic in the days that followed, T.I. jumped at the opportunity to explain himself. Unfortunately, he spent most of his time at the red table doubling down on his problematic perspective instead of fully understand the grave repercussions of his words and actions on his daughter — and on women everywhere.
"I think all of this surrounds a conversation that I was having in a joking manner," T.I. began. "So I began to, from a place of truth, embellish and exaggerate. And I think that a lot of people took it extremely literally...I honestly thought that people knew me better than that." The Rhythm + Flow judge clarified that he was not, in fact, the one booking Deyjah's appointments to the gynecologist or even demanding to be present in the exam room. He also made it known that these visits happened years before his daughter became a legal adult at age 18, and that her mother, Ms. Niko, always welcomed him to tag along.
Still, throughout the roundtable discussion, T.I. had a difficult time recognising why he was in the wrong; after all, questioned the rapper, what was so wrong about wanting to "protect" his daughter? In response to the suggestion that he was controlling Deyjah, T.I. asserted that some aspect of control was necessary to keep his child. "In order to guide or direct, you must have a certain level of control," he said, to the chagrin of Mrs. Banfield-Jones.
T.I. also shared that he had often warned Deyjah to keep her expectations of men low, not seeing how his well-meaning intentions propped up rape culture. "This is a physical, animalistic urge that's taking over right here," he would tell his daughter. "This is not an emotional, romantic encounter for this gentleman."
Throughout the first part of the discussion, Pinkett Smith was very understanding towards T.I., gently attempting to guide him towards the bigger picture; she even provided a basic definition of the word "patriarchy" when the rapper admitted to not being familiar with the concept. But in her attempt to give T.I. a platform to explain himself, Pinkett Smith also silenced the rightful disdain of girls and young women just like Deyjah.
The youngest Smith, Willow, was noticeably absent from the conversation, and her mom remarked that it was probably for the best — Willow is known to check everyone, even her dad, for their inappropriate comments. It looks like this was a missed opportunity for T.I. to see things from a young women's point of view and grow from his very damaging misstep.
Part two of T.I. and Tiny's Red Table Talk episode will air next week on Facebook Watch.