a thought on Tiny & TIP

After dropping T.I. off at the prison, Tiny lays out in the towncar

While watching BET’s Tiny & Toya, I thought to myself, “geez, I hope we don’t spend the rest of the season listening to Tiny whine about T.I. being in jail.” Shortly after having that thought, I started to think about it outside of a reality show context. To me it’s just another “storyline” in a television show I watch occasionally. To her, the head of their family and the love of her life is gone for a year and a day. While she’s trying to maintain a normal life down in Atlanta, GA, T.I. is on ice up in Forest Hills, Arkansas. Normal life might be a bit of a stretch. She’s in front of the cameras on her own reality show. She’s dealing with a father who is steadily losing it due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s struggling with resurrecting a singing career. Those things alone would be enough to stress out any one of us. Tiny, though, is shouldering a burden that many women of color carry at some point in their lives… losing a man to prison/jail.

I understand that as of late, T.I./Clifford Harris, Jr. has been trying to give back to his community and fly right. He has put in 1,500 hrs of community service by reaching out to the young folks and warning them about drugs, violence and gangs. For full disclosure, that was part of his plea deal but I’m sure he wants to do that on his own anyway. He also addressed some remorse and tried to help others avoid the same pitfalls on his MTV reality show “T.I.’s Road to Redemption.”

Yeah, T.I. can be a nice guy. That being said, T.I. and men like him need to realize that they’re actions are not their own. We do not live in this “me, myself and I” type of world where you can do what you want without regard for how your actions affect your community, your family and unseen folks the world over. Felony weapons charges! After you had already gotten busted years ago for drug charges. I’d like to acknowledge the disproportionate sentencing, imprisonment, administration of parole/probation and blacklisting of Black and Latino men in this country. I’m not going to go into depth with that point here, but you all know the deal. I just wanted to give a nod to the issue so I can say this: Some shit is not about the police or the justice system or the parole board. It’s about you. Now grow up and get your life together. We all make mistakes but your insistence on making MORE mistakes at the expense of your family and loved ones is selfish. Not only do you take away from your wife/girl/children/parents/siblings/friends. You take away from the Black Community’s power by diminishing our collective strength and self-esteem.

Toya talks to Tiny

Now I’ve got to watch Tiny skip out on a night with the girls because she’s trying to spend every moment possible with her man before he goes away. I’ve got to see her cry (and that is not a pretty picture). Instead of Toya focusing on her mother and trying to get back with Wayne, she’s comforting her friend (see, it affects her as well).

The positive thing is that unlike many women in like situations, Tiny has the benefit of being a top-selling rapper’s main ride or die chick and the mother of his children. Not to mention that she was putting out hits of her own with the group Xscape before anyone knew who T.I. was. Her family is well off and taken care of. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how she handles his absence as the show runs its course. Because while she has the means to take care of everyone while he’s away, her happiness and emotional well-being is clearly tightly bound to his happiness and proximity to her.

I’ve had a boyfriend in jail before and it was not fun. I’m not really trying to compare to Tiny and Toya because county jail is not prison, I could walk there to see him if I wanted, he wasn’t up for nearly as long as T.I.,  and this was years ago anyway. I mention it to say that if I could be all torn up over my little high school boyfriend being locked up at county, Tiny’s really in the middle of  a whole heap of hurt. I just wish more people thought about how the people they love (and who love them back) would deal with the repercussions of their actions. Because real talk, if a teary Tiny pouts and pokes those lips out any farther I’m going to take a bath with a toaster. And you all can blame T.I./TIP for that.

  • http://www.bougieapplebum.com Bougie Applebum

    Great post. I found myself reading and nodding in agreement. I cosign with your comment that men need to realize their actions affect more than just one person. With that said, I also think women need to put their foot down and let the men know – “Look, I love you but I won’t put up with this B.S.”

    In college I found myself talking to my boyfriend through the county glass for a ‘visit’. It was my first and last time visiting the county jail – and the entire time I kept thinking “WTF?” It was all new to me, but I saw women coming in hordes like it was a regular family outing. We need to stop familiarizing ourselves with the ‘possibility’ that our man might end up in jail – and that this is somehow a way of African American life to stand by him as he faces The System. I know our judicial system isn’t balanced fairly for our brothers – but sometimes these men perform acts of dumbness that deserve a kick in the azz. I’m almost certain if the men knew there was a possibility that their ride or die chick would walk away while they were on lock – they’d probably think twice about their actions. Not to say it will change all of them, but some would wake up and realize, a stupid act wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing everything.

    I put my foot down with my college boyfriend and let him know – his first strike was a mistake…but I wasn’t sitting around waiting for a second strike, if it happened again I would not hesitate to walk away. It didn’t happen again.

    • Bourgie, JD

      Good point. There’s responsibility on both sides. Definitely truth to the saying that people will only do to you what you allow them to do (something like that).
      I can’t tell you how annoying the concept behind a “ride or die chick” is in the first place.

      • http://www.bougieapplebum.com Bougie Applebum

        The term ‘ride or die’ needs to do just that – ride out into the sunset and die.

        Ugh. Again – stop the madness. lol

  • http://www.bougieapplebum.com Bougie Applebum

    Great post. I found myself reading and nodding in agreement. I cosign with your comment that men need to realize their actions affect more than just one person. With that said, I also think women need to put their foot down and let the men know – “Look, I love you but I won’t put up with this B.S.”

    In college I found myself talking to my boyfriend through the county glass for a ‘visit’. It was my first and last time visiting the county jail – and the entire time I kept thinking “WTF?” It was all new to me, but I saw women coming in hordes like it was a regular family outing. We need to stop familiarizing ourselves with the ‘possibility’ that our man might end up in jail – and that this is somehow a way of African American life to stand by him as he faces The System. I know our judicial system isn’t balanced fairly for our brothers – but sometimes these men perform acts of dumbness that deserve a kick in the azz. I’m almost certain if the men knew there was a possibility that their ride or die chick would walk away while they were on lock – they’d probably think twice about their actions. Not to say it will change all of them, but some would wake up and realize, a stupid act wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing everything.

    I put my foot down with my college boyfriend and let him know – his first strike was a mistake…but I wasn’t sitting around waiting for a second strike, if it happened again I would not hesitate to walk away. It didn’t happen again.

    • Bourgie, JD

      Good point. There’s responsibility on both sides. Definitely truth to the saying that people will only do to you what you allow them to do (something like that).
      I can’t tell you how annoying the concept behind a “ride or die chick” is in the first place.

      • http://www.bougieapplebum.com Bougie Applebum

        The term ‘ride or die’ needs to do just that – ride out into the sunset and die.

        Ugh. Again – stop the madness. lol

  • http://Jessj.wordpress.com Jess

    I feel similarly! However I think Tip came to this same conclusion just way too late. That’s kind of what his song “dead and gone” is all about. Anyway I actually found myself liking Tiny&Toya I guess because even though you know their backgrounds and they very well could act like the Real Housewives of Atlanta they DON’T! Praise Jesus!

  • http://Jessj.wordpress.com Jess

    I feel similarly! However I think Tip came to this same conclusion just way too late. That’s kind of what his song “dead and gone” is all about. Anyway I actually found myself liking Tiny&Toya I guess because even though you know their backgrounds and they very well could act like the Real Housewives of Atlanta they DON’T! Praise Jesus!

  • Esq.

    I still can’t get past Tiny’s voice though…

    But wait, that’s not the point. I guess because I’ve never been with a guy that’s been in jail EVER or had any kind of infraction beyond that of a traffic ticket, I can’t say that I identify (and yes, they’ve all been black). For me, like Bougie Applebaum said, it’s all about the woman and what she’ll accept. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that finding a man is hard let alone a clean and narrow dude that doesn’t put himself into certain situations, but I still say that black women have to have higher standards for the mates they choose.

    My best friend dated a dude that caught two DUIs back to back and she still loved him and wanted to make things better for him. I couldn’t understand it no matter how hard I tried to empathize with her….love isn’t like that. Like you said before, Bougie, a man that loves his woman will not put himself in those types of situations to be taken from her or his family. It’s apparent, however, that Tiny likes that lifestyle. For all of the fortune she was given in her early career, I’m not seeing the growth in her that she should have. (Her procrastination with the salon is further evidence of that, IMO) Is it too bougie of me to say that she’s hood rich and satisfied with the lifestyle that TI has…the drug game, guns, etc. Tiny should’ve demanded better for herself and the man that would eventually father her children from the first day. And then, she apparently had it like that to carry them on her income so he didn’t have to continue to do the things that he did ESPECIALLY after he got put on in the rap game. UGH. I’m sorry I’m typing so long, but it really frustrates me. lol, like the BET show, “We got to do better!” If black women are the backbones of the black community, then we should hold our men to higher standards and raise men that emulate the good men we choose.

    • Bourgie, JD

      I’m not seeing the growth in her that she should have. (Her procrastination with the salon is further evidence of that, IMO) Is it too bougie of me to say that she’s hood rich and satisfied with the lifestyle that TI has…the drug game, guns, etc.

      No, that’s not too bourgie (besides, there’s no such thing as too bourgie on this blog!). I agree… I think it’s logical that you can’t keep doing that same street shit once you elevate yourself. Not saying one should cut ties to where they come from or the people they came up with, but don’t we try to get out of the ‘hood for a reason? Doesn’t a mature woman want more for herself and her family as she grows and learns from her experiences?

    • http://blkbond.blogspot.com BlkBond

      Co-sign. When you become and adult you must realize that you actions have consequences a repercussions that stretch beyond your vision and reach. I tire of excuses. We must demand more from each other and from ourselves.

      Bond. BlkBond.

  • Esq.

    I still can’t get past Tiny’s voice though…

    But wait, that’s not the point. I guess because I’ve never been with a guy that’s been in jail EVER or had any kind of infraction beyond that of a traffic ticket, I can’t say that I identify (and yes, they’ve all been black). For me, like Bougie Applebaum said, it’s all about the woman and what she’ll accept. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that finding a man is hard let alone a clean and narrow dude that doesn’t put himself into certain situations, but I still say that black women have to have higher standards for the mates they choose.

    My best friend dated a dude that caught two DUIs back to back and she still loved him and wanted to make things better for him. I couldn’t understand it no matter how hard I tried to empathize with her….love isn’t like that. Like you said before, Bougie, a man that loves his woman will not put himself in those types of situations to be taken from her or his family. It’s apparent, however, that Tiny likes that lifestyle. For all of the fortune she was given in her early career, I’m not seeing the growth in her that she should have. (Her procrastination with the salon is further evidence of that, IMO) Is it too bougie of me to say that she’s hood rich and satisfied with the lifestyle that TI has…the drug game, guns, etc. Tiny should’ve demanded better for herself and the man that would eventually father her children from the first day. And then, she apparently had it like that to carry them on her income so he didn’t have to continue to do the things that he did ESPECIALLY after he got put on in the rap game. UGH. I’m sorry I’m typing so long, but it really frustrates me. lol, like the BET show, “We got to do better!” If black women are the backbones of the black community, then we should hold our men to higher standards and raise men that emulate the good men we choose.

    • Bourgie, JD

      I’m not seeing the growth in her that she should have. (Her procrastination with the salon is further evidence of that, IMO) Is it too bougie of me to say that she’s hood rich and satisfied with the lifestyle that TI has…the drug game, guns, etc.

      No, that’s not too bourgie (besides, there’s no such thing as too bourgie on this blog!). I agree… I think it’s logical that you can’t keep doing that same street shit once you elevate yourself. Not saying one should cut ties to where they come from or the people they came up with, but don’t we try to get out of the ‘hood for a reason? Doesn’t a mature woman want more for herself and her family as she grows and learns from her experiences?

    • http://blkbond.blogspot.com BlkBond

      Co-sign. When you become and adult you must realize that you actions have consequences a repercussions that stretch beyond your vision and reach. I tire of excuses. We must demand more from each other and from ourselves.

      Bond. BlkBond.