BY DANIELLE GARRAND, CBS
After facing intense backlash earlier this month for stating that he goes to the gynecologist with his teenage daughter each year to “check her hymen,” rapper T.I. defended himself this week during an appearance on the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.” T.I. told host Jada Pinkett Smith that he thinks a “false narrative” about his comments has been “sensationalized” — but he also defended his choice to “protect” his daughter from “the little slimy, grimy, chubby-fingered little boys who want to just come and defile and destroy the sanctity that I have.”
“I think all of this surrounds a conversation that I was having in a very joking manner, when asked how do I deal with parenting in this day and age,” he said while sitting at a table with Pinkett Smith, her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris. “From a place of truth, I began to embellish and exaggerate. I think that a lot of people kind of took it extremely literal.”
He also added that he did not understand the sensitivity of the topic, but does now.
The rapper made the initial comments during an episode of the podcast “Ladies Like Us,” which was released earlier this month. T.I. was speaking with hosts Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham about parenting when he was asked about whether he’s had the “sex talk” with his daughters, BuzzFeed News reported.
The rapper, who has six children, brought up how he handles the discussion with his oldest daughter, 18-year-old Deyjah Harris.
“Not only have we had the conversation. We have yearly trips to the gynecologist to check her hymen,” T.I. said, according to BuzzFeed. “Yes, I go with her.” He also informed the podcast hosts, as well as their listeners, that “as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”
His original comments faced swift backlash on social media. “Idk who needs to hear this but virginity is a made-up social construct, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your hymen,” tweeted Planned Parenthood in a long thread. “This is horrible on so many levels,” tweeted prominent gynecologist Jennifer Gunter.
T.I. attempted to set the “record straight” on aspects of the story he claimed were misunderstood during the Monday episode of “Red Table Talk.”
“I never said I was in any exam room. That is an assumption — that is a falsity,” he said. “I never said that it was being done present day, as an 18-year-old. And, I never said that her mother wasn’t present. Yeah, her mom was present every time.”
The rapper further protested the backlash surrounding his comments, claiming “this false narrative has just been sensationalized.”
During the conversation, Pinkett Smith asked the rapper how he would like people to understand his level of control over his daughter, after explaining that some perceived his comments as an attempt to “control” her virginity.
“In the age, or the time, when 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,” T.I. said. “And 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 that I have —”
Before T.I. was able to finish his thought, Pinkett Smith and Banfield-Norris burst out laughing, but quickly collected themselves.
“Anything that is the most important thing to me in my life, I am going to deal with that with very extreme care,” he continued. “And I don’t understand how that is looked at as being so wrong.”
The rapper further explained that, for him, it wasn’t just about sex, but also about the responsibilities that he believes come along with it. He told the hosts that his daughter “definitely should be afraid for what could potentially come from” having sex, and listed pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases as some of the potential outcomes.