Just under three weeks ago, T.I. faced backlash when he said he took his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris to the gynecologist annually to "check her hymen." The rapper made the comments on a since-deleted episode of Nazanin Mandi's Ladies Like Us podcast, and Harris has made it no secret that she's uncomfortable about the situation.
On the latest episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk, Tip is finally addressing the controversy, alongside his wife Tameka "Tiny" Harris. As the episode begins, T.I. and his wife Tiny are greeted by the Smith family. "I was hoping to offset some of these opinions on me," joked T.I. when he realized Will Smith wasn’t sticking around for the interview.
Immediately after, Jada grilled Tip about his comments. "Now if I may say in my defence, I came here for the tough stuff," he said, indicating that he wasn't afraid to answer any questions. He referred to the situation as "Hymen Gate" when asked directly about the controversy.
"I think this surrounds a conversation I was having in a very joking manner," T.I. said. "I just began to—from a place of truth—I began to embellish and exagerate. I think people kinda took it extremely literal, because if you put any of my reputation... Who I am as a father, who I been... I honestly thought people knew me better than that."
He clarified that he did not understand the sensitivity of the situation, but he does now. "Let me go set this record straight: I never said I was in any exam room. That was an assumption," he continued. "I never said that it was being done present day, as an 18-year-old."
Tiny interjected from there and said Deyjah was "15 and 16 years old at the time," while T.I. said Tiny was present with Deyjah.
"So, at the time her mother welcomed your presence and your daughter did too?" asked Jada.
"Absolutely," he replied. "There was never any objection. She did have a problem with me talking about it, however, and I understand that. I am incredibly apologetic to her for that. Not to any of these other strangers or any of these weirdos who, you know, just kinda toss lies around for fun. She understands my intentions and she knows who I am."
Both of Deyjah's parents completely understood why she was upset about the situation, and they highlighted how quiet she was. "I didn't get it, I was oblivious to it. However, I am now sensitive to it for her," he added. "My daughter said, 'Just let it go. Don't say nothing, just let it go.' And I didn't until I had different directives. 'Go ahead, make your stop. Clear it up.'"
Jada said she doesn't think that people are upset about T.I. wanting to be as involved with his daughter's upbringing as possible, and that it was just the hymen comments in particular that had caused an uproar. Tip agreed with her sentiment and admitted there are certain things he doesn't fully understand about raising a daughter coming from the male perspective.
"I think that in the age or time where our women—black women—are the most unprotected, unattended, disregarded women on the planet...I'm being criticized because I'm willing to go above and beyond to protect mine," he said. "I'm talking about all of the little slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys who want to just come and defile and destroy the sanctity," he continued before he was cut off by a few laughs.
"To me I'm here to protect all of the children from themselves until they make it to a point where they have awareness, a sense of self, and discernment," T.I. added. "Since she's turned 18, I don't have control of anything, it's on you. Run, fly, be yourself." He clarified, "I'm not there to protect virginity, I just know that is a big move."
Ultimately he said he wants to protect his daughter from young men he believes aren't equiped to treat her how she deserves. "This is the thing about the female body, I think the conversation is different when it comes to moms than whe it comes to dad," he said. "I know it is and I don't understand."
Part two of T.I. and Tiny's chat on Red Table Talk is coming soon, with the couple set to talk about their own relationship.