Clifford "T.I." Harris: The Good Father

After the premiere episode of T.I. & clan’s The Family Hustle on Vh1, I wrote about being pleasantly surprised by the show. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from T.I. as a father after his trap-boasting lyrics and back-to-back arrests. But the man who showed up on TV seemed like a pretty good dad, if you overlook some of T.I.’s better-known mishaps with good judgment.

Let’s just get it out of the way: He went to jail twice in the last three years. Being present in your children’s lives is one of the top markers of what makes a great dad, and in that sense T.I. failed—twice.

“I have a small issue with VH1 airing a show about family and parenting starring a man who was charged with weapon and drug offenses,” Lucas High wrote in “TI Plays Mr. Mom” over on TV Geek Army. “Sure, it's great that you skipped rehearsal to attend your son's football game. But you know what he would probably appreciate even more than that? If you hadn't just missed the last 11 months of his life!”

But now Tip’s free, and bending over backwards with his children to make up for lost time. Has he always been the best father? No. His absences due to time served count him out as being the next Cliff Huxtable. Is he trying now, though? Credit must be given when it’s due: absolutely. 

“[TI] seems to be totally plugged into the demands and requirements of fatherhood, concerned about the messages his children are absorbing, about the decisions they make, about the environment that surrounds them,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Chiles for Popular Critic. “He appears to be thinking about them all the time and, as an in-demand performer, often weighing the impact of his career decisions on his kids.”

Chiles adds, “I am heartened by his relationship with his children. … I think we would all benefit from seeing more of these kinds of snippets of black fatherhood in action.”

In the commercials for The Family Hustle’s debut, T.I.’s wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris noted The Harris’s, despite their large blended family, “it’s not the Brady Brunch." Nor are The Harris’s the Huxtables, and maybe that’s a good thing. 

It’s been nearly twenty years since The Huxtables did things the “right way”—college, then marriage, then family—on primetime TV. As someone who grew up in an environment that uplifted that formula as ideal and has seen many Black couples follow suit, I know that it works. I also know that everyone can’t relate, especially a good cross-section of T.I.’s fan base that know the Huxtables, who are held up as ideal Black family (now alongside The Obamas) best from re-runs.

T.I. at 31 is younger, at least 15 years junior to the fictional Huxtables, and as a father, he speaks to a generation of men who may not have been raised with one—statisticallty, most Black men are not. And even if they were, neither group has any real desire to adopt colorful sweaters or Dad jeans as a staple of fatherhood. Frankly, T.I. with his white tees, intact swag and hip-hop sensibilities makes fatherhood and family time look modern, relevant and fun too.

Surely, there are those who will note that Tip’s children have has multiple mothers (three) and that of the six children he and his wife raise together, none of them have been produced in wedlock. There is a sector of the Black community in which this isn’t abnormal. For many Black families who are struggling with break ups and make-ups and drama and surprises and mistakes, T.I. & his clan might not be ideal, but they’re real. The Harris’s represent a happy ending, of sorts. One that is still possible even if your family didn’t follow the “right” storyline. --Demetria Lucas

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of "A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life" (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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Dee Barnes Talks Dr. Dre. Attack, Goes Silent When Asked If He Sexually Assaulted Her

It’s no secret that pioneering hip-hop journalists Denise “Dee” Barnes was viciously beaten by Dr. Dre in 1991, but there are still details of the harrowing incident that remain a mystery. Barnes, who received an outpouring of support since revealing that she’s homeless, appeared on The Wendy Williams Show Wednesday (April 18) to discuss her living predicament and the night that she was assaulted by Dre, but when asked if the music mogul sexually assaulted her, Barnes went silent.

As Barnes recalled during the interview, Dre attacked her at a Def Jam party in Los Angeles in retaliation for her interview with Ice Cube after he split with N.W.A. According to Barnes, she was standing near a stairway talking to someone when Dre grabbed her by the hair and rammed her head into a brick wall. “Dre approached me out of nowhere [and] grabs me by my hair. He picked me up, lifted me up off the ground [by my hair and] slammed me up against a brick wall several times.

“I didn’t see but he had a bodyguard with him and he kept the crowd from helping [me] by threatening the crowd with a gun,” continued the former Pump It Up host. “The person that was talking to me, was the only person who tried to intervene, he got pistol whipped [and ] lost two teeth.”

Barnes remembers being disoriented as she lay on the ground, unable to walk down the stairs. “I grab the rail, I pull myself back up and run into the women’s restroom. He follows me into the women’s restroom,” she said before taking a pause. “He continued to assault me in the women’s restroom.”

“Were you sexually assaulted?” Williams prodded.

“I’m not comfortable talking about everything right now,” Barnes replied.

“Your silence is speaking volumes,” added Williams.

In a 1991 interview with Rolling Stone, Dre brushed off the incident casaully stating that he threw Barnes “through a door.” The assault came back to light in 2015 after it was noticeably absent from Straight Outta Compton, along with Dre’s abuse of his ex-girlfriend, Michel'le with whom he has a child. Dre later released a public apology, although he didn’t mention Barnes or Michel'le directly. “I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives,” he said in a statement. He also addressed the beating in HBO's The Defiant Ones series in 2017. “I was out of my f‑‑‑ing mind at the time. I f‑‑‑ed up. I paid for it. I’m sorry for it. And I apologized for it.I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever. It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man, and every time it comes up, it just makes me feel f‑‑‑ed up.”

Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, pleaded no contest to assaulting Barnes. He was sentenced to probation and community service and went to become a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, Grammy-winning solo artist, and sought after producer. Meanwhile, Barnes was blacklisted from the music industry after she was attacked.

During a much happier moment in her Wendy Williams Show interview, Williams presented Barnes with a $15,000 check to help her get back on her feet, and offered her a book deal.

Watch the full interview below.

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Officials Name Tekashi 6ix9ine Affiliate Shooter In 2018 Barclays Shooting

Newly released documents from Tekashi 6ix9ine’s ongoing racketeering case have revealed more information about the rapper and his crew’s criminal history. According to the docs, the government has reportedly identified the “shooter” for the Nine Trey Gansta Bloods as Fuguan "Fubanger" Lovick.

Lovick is one of the six remaining defendants in the case (five have already pleaded guilty). Authorities suggest Lovick was the shooter in the incident that occurred at the Barclays Center during Adrien Broner’s fight in April 2018. Previous reports alleged that 6ix9ine’s crew got into an altercation with Casanova’s posse, which resulted in shots being fired.

"In addition to the surveillance video, which shows the defendant discharging a firearm inside the Barclays Center, cooperating witnesses will testify about the defendant’s role in Nine Trey, in particular as a shooter for the gang who almost always carried a firearm," the legal documents say.

In Mar. 2019, Lovick filed a motion to have his charges dismissed. He stated that his initial arrest for a traffic stop, which led to the discovery of a firearm, was illegal. On Wednesday (April 17), the government filed a memorandum defending the search.

Lovick's next hearing is set for April 30.

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Eva Marcille Tears Up As She Recalls Kevin McCall’s Alleged Abuse

Eva Marcille is opening up about her allegedly abusive relationship with ex, Kevin McCall, in light of the rapper’s recent arrest for domestic violence. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star stopped by The Rickey Smiley Show on Thursday (April 18), where she discussed the abuse she endured during and after her first pregnancy.

“It took me a lot of time to even be able to get up the courage to talk about it because it’s embarrassing,” she said. “Coming from where I come from and being as astute and courageous as I am, you always feel like, ‘it can never be me.’”

Marcille explained that she and McCall were not “really in love” before she became pregnant with their daughter, Marley. “It wasn’t a relationship that lasted long enough for me to really even know him,” she noted. Even so, it wasn’t long before their romance took a violent turn.

“[The abuse] didn’t start for me until I was pregnant with Marley. And then about a month after having Marley, it didn’t stop; it got worse,” she tearfully recalled. “And it got worse with her. The final straw was when Marley was actually in my arms once. And I was like, ‘I can’t do this no more.”

Marcille has since married someone else (she married Michael Sterling in Oct. 2018), but she suggested that her history with McCall is both triggering and relevant to this day.

As previously noted, McCall was arrested on Monday (April 15) for domestic violence against his current partner, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirms. The “Deuces” artist was charged with one felony of injuring a spouse or cohabitant. According to jail records, McCall was released on Tuesday (April 16) after posting a $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.

In regards to his latest case, Eva said that her sympathy lies with the alleged victim. “I feel sorry for that girl… I feel bad for women who have to deal with that,” she said. “It’s actually not a laughable matter. It’s something that makes you feel so little… I hope that they keep his ass in jail.”

Watch the clips from Eva Marcille’s latest interview below.


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#PressPlay: #EvaMarcille gets emotional detailing her abuse and speaks on her ex #KevinMcCall’s recent domestic violence arrest (SWIPE) Via @rickeysmileyofficial

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