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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Kevin Winter

Fans Shut Down Beyonce Cultural Appropriation Allegations

Beyonce is the latest celebrity to be accused of cultural appropriation after she was spotted at an Indian wedding on Sunday (Dec. 9). Despite some assertions, the BeyHive is swooping in to set the record straight about their queen.

According to reports, Beyonce performed at an early wedding celebration in India's western Rajasthan state. She was celebrating the nuptials of Isha Ambani – the 27-year old daughter of Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani – and Anand Piramal, the 33-year old son of another Indian billionaire.


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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:47am PST

The early festivities, which is custom for Indian marriages, welcomed a handful of celebrity guests including Hillary Clinton, Bollywood stars, businessman, and more.

The controversy surrounding Beyonce sparked after the singer shared an image of herself wearing an extravagant, pink and gold dress with seemingly traditional, Indian accessories, including a headpiece and bracelets. Some critics immediately assumed Bey was culturally appropriating Indian or Hindi culture, but suggested it would go unnoticed due to her social status.

Fans however, shut the allegations down, noting that she was actually paying homage to the culture. They also stated that she was invited to perform at the party by a prominent Indian family and therefore, should be dressed appropriately.

This wouldn't be the first time Beyonce has been accused of cultural appropriation of Indian culture. She was hit with similar allegations following the release of the music video for "Hymn for the Weekend" with Coldplay.

Join the discussion and check out the debate below.


— lah-juh (@fabuLaja) December 10, 2018

why are fake wokes on twitter accusing beyonce for doing cultural appropriation ? IT'S APPRECIATION YOU MFs !! y'all don't know shit about indian culture !! literally sit tf down, even indians aren't mad why are you dumbasses shoving it down our throats as if yall know better

— anupama (@taysmoonchiId) December 9, 2018

Beyonce wearing Indian clothes to an Indian Cultural Event is not cultural appropriation. She was invited by an Indian family and everyone there is wearing Indian clothes. So.

— Ivan (@taexty) December 10, 2018

As someone who is half-Indian and half-Pakistani (aka fully South Asian for those who are not geographically inclined), I do not want to see ANYONE shouting nonsense about Beyoncé and cultural appropriation unless you are South Asian too. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk x

— Shehnaz Khan (@shehnazkhan) December 10, 2018

Ppl commenting on @Beyonce’s IG Indian outfit post, saying it was cultural appropriation, need to have a seat. Embracing another’s culture and shedding positivity on it is not cultural appropriation, it is cultural appreciation. Damn keyboard warriors

— Ramon Salas (@ramonssalas) December 10, 2018

Beyoncé was invited to an indian wedding, to perform there, she's appreciating the culture and the people that invited her There's no cultural appropriation here

— 🅚 (@chained_tofenty) December 10, 2018

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Paras Griffin

Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

Jacquees has made a bold statement that's ruffled a few feathers.

The Cash Money artist took to social media over the weekend to assert that he's the king of R&B, and from what we can gather, the 23 singer wasn't talking about ribs and barbeque. "I just want to let everybody know that I'm the king of R&B right now, for this generation. I understand who done came and who done did that and that, but now it's my turn. Jacquees, the king." he said.

Some of the Internet raised its digital eyebrow at the boast, while others paid it no attention. Tyrese, however, didn't take kindly to the assertation.

"Ima keep it stack with you," the Transformers star posted. "The young kings of this generation that's been running sh*t since day one are Chris Brown and Trey Songz."

The soul singer continued and accused the Decatur, GA native of employing Tekashi 6ix 9ine tactics. "You got this out of the Tekashi 6ix9ine playbook. Stop trolling, my ni**a. Get back in the booth."

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How Sway..? How.??......... The way we ALL reacted.......... Let me put you up on what’s really movin bruh.. This ain’t Hip Hop my nigha.. You can’t come in this game get hot for a year then try an #T69 nighas and throw that there word #KING around..... Imma keep it a stack with you... The young kings of your generation that’s #been runnin shit is 1 @chrisbrownofficial and 2 @treysongz .... BIG facts! FYI the last real R&B album through and through that has the integrity and blueprint of the culture that was made with NO skips was #ThreeKings you got this out of the T69 play book stop trolling my nigha get back in the booth.....

A post shared by TYRESE (@tyrese) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:25pm PST

Tank, having gotten wind of Jacquees' statements, refuted his "king" claim. "First, R.Kelly is the king of R&B. The accusations don't disqualify what he's accomplished. Second, if you can't go in the studio by yourself and make a hit record, you're not my king. If you can't sing it better live, you're not my king. I appreciate all the talent out there, but we are using the word "king" too loosely."

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Every artist is supposed to believe they can fly but only one man made it happen. @rkelly body of work is still bible. I love ALL of the artist out now and some are having amazing success but to be the King you have to beat the King and his stats still stand. Imagine if “I Believe I Can Fly” had streaming when it dropped..geesh!!! I’ll let you guys focus on kings and queens.. I’ll stay focused on being around for another 20yrs! #Elevation #RnBMoney #TheGeneral

A post shared by Tank (@therealtank) on Dec 9, 2018 at 9:56pm PST

J. Holiday noted that Michael Jackson sold 20 million after the release of Off The Wall, and said R.Kelly owns the second spot. Eric Bellinger, while in the studio with Usher, simply panned his camera phone to Usher, who sat quietly in a corner.

Are Tyrese and Tank overreacting? Or should Jacquees not make such bold assertions? Sound off in the comments below.

READ MORE: Is R&B Under Siege? Tyrese, Sam Smith, And The Genre's Identity Crisis

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Bob Levey

Tekashi 6ix9ine Refuses To Take Plea Deal In Racketeering Case

Tekashi 6ix9ine is maintaining his innocence in his racketeering case despite the mounting evidence against him. His attorney Lance Lazzaro recently told TMZ that a plea deal is "off the table."

"A plea deal is simply off the table, even if the feds offer one," Lazarro told the celebrity news publication.

Tekashi's refusal to make a deal comes only one day after prosecutors presented photos and videos taken from his phone that prove the Brooklyn native's involvement in at least three armed robberies and shootings that went down in BK earlier this year. While the media found on his device does not show 6ix9ine pulling the trigger or holding a weapon, authorities are suggesting that he was the ringleader of all the crimes and enlisted others to do the dirty work for him. Tekashi's former manager, Kifano "Shotti" Jordan, is the only one who has been identified in the incidents at this time.

Nevertheless, Lazarro maintains his clients innocence, stating that he "was never part of a conspiracy, plain and simple. Nor did he ever participate in any incidents that the government has alleged." Despite his unwillingness to take a plea deal, Lazarro said 6ix9ine is fully cooperating with prosecutors.

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