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Dear T.I….You’re doing it wrong.

I really respected you, I even liked your music. I like the way you talk to kids about gang violence and reach out into your community to give back, but when it comes to your daughter you’re fucking up in all the wrong ways.

You’ve already made it clear that you value your son’s privacy more than your daughters, but what you’re really saying is that you value your son more than you value your daughters.

The problem with that is that too many people idolize you for you to be allowed to get away with that kind of behavior. We cannot and will not allow another Robert Kelly into the hearts and minds of our children again.

We’ve already seen this movie, you know the one with the guy who makes it clear he’s a misogynist, without actually acknowledging the fact that he’s being misogynistic, and it never ends well for us, by us I mean, us women.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I have to tell you that I had a father who was like you and it ended up with me being raped, beaten, tortured and nearly killed because I was taught to believe that men and what they wanted was more important than what I needed.

I can’t sit back and allow that kind of mentality to continue to give birth to men like you without saying something, and so I am saying something. What you are doing isn’t just wrong, but by forcing your daughter to tell you about her sex life is sending the message that whatever sex life she might have is not in fact sacred.

This is the problem with Black culture, you fetishize the men and abuse the women and you get away with it because people like me are too afraid to tell you that it’s wrong, and when we say you’re wrong, we become the bad guy.

When I was in Winnipeg last year, I was one of two black women at the Community Radio Conference, but the only one who got to deal with all of the racism that we saw, and when I say we, I mean the white people who were with me, noticed. It was too difficult not to.

When I was arrested for having a panic attack, the only other Black woman on the plane turned away and hid her face and I knew in that moment just what it meant to be alone.

People don’t stand up for people like me. When I reported the men who raped me to the RCMP they said they would get back to me, and to date I’ve heard nothing, even though I took it upon myself to publish some of the names of the men who raped me. Men who were and are known rapists raped me, and the RCMP has done nothing about it.

If you want your daughter to see her life and her body as something worth respecting, the only reasonable answer is to teach your sons to treat their women with respect.

I once saw a boy here in Surrey shove a white girl, I had to stop and explain to him that as a man of color he doesn’t have the right to shake a woman or shove her in jest, because when people see a Black boy hit at a woman they lose their shit. (Rightfully so), a situation that started out as a joke can quickly become a situation where a young man ends up dead, as we’ve learned all too well by looking at our neighbors.

The only way that women of color, specifically Black women are going to be treated the way they deserve to be treated is if the men in our culture stand up and decide to ensure to call out their “boys” bad behavior.

I’m tired of having to tell people like you that I deserve to be treated better, but more now that I am in my thirties I am looking forward to the days when I get to be a mother, and I am asking myself what kind of people I’d want them to look up to.

I’d want them to look up to men and women who believe that all people should be respected equally. I’d like them to look up to positive influential people who can show them that anything is possible.

I want them to look at someone like you, who made it out of the hood with respect. I want them to understand the struggle that comes with being born poor and Black, because that’s my experience too, but I want more than anything, for my daughters to know that they will be safe around their Black male counterparts.

For that to happen, men like yourself need to stop saying stupid shit.

It is not okay for you to be taking your daughter to have her hymen checked, it is not okay for you to make it clear that your son is allowed to have sex, while your daughter will be publicly shamed if she chooses the same path.

As their parent, you are in a position of power, as a famous Rap Artist you are in the position of influence, and your audience all has an opinion on how you should behave. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being “T.I.” From the dirty south.

There is a heavy blanket of promise that comes with the words you so carelessly spew into the world, and at some point you are going to have to start realizing that children who grow up idolizing you will continue this negative harmful view you’ve shared on how men and women should be treated.

This is why the cycle of abuse will never end. Because men such as yourself continue to believe that you deserve more freedom then women. That you somehow can get away with treating a woman like shit, because if she gets pregnant then it’s on her.

You need to stop talking. Go to a Monastery and connect with God, remember the divinity that graced you with their presence so you could become the man you are today.

A Woman’s sexuality is not a joke, nor is it something to take less seriously than her male counterparts.

For the last year I’ve masturbated twice, I haven’t had sex in as long because I finally let myself deal with the abuse that happened to me starting at age five years old. I started to realize that my body was desecrated by one man after another, because no one stopped to care about what I wanted or what I needed, and no one even stopped to notice.

I am the reason I am writing this post, because in not being able to touch myself, to be intimate with myself I have lost a part of my self.

Men like you are the reason women like me exist. So thanks for that. Thanks for making sure that there are going to be millions more boys who have learned that they have the right to value men over women, because hey…”T.I. Does it.”

 

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