Red Table Talk: T.I. Still Doesn’t Get It

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courtesy Red Table Talk Instagram

I was hesitant to watch, but I went ahead and hit the play button on the latest episode of Red Table Talk with guest Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., better known by his rap performance name, T.I

Clifford was summoned to the RTT after he made headlines last week when he decided to publicly announce his yearly  practice of escorting his daughter to her gynecologist’s appointment in order to verify the condition of her hymen.

Insert facepalm. 

The backlash was swift; the corrections and education came from as high up as medical associations and practitioners all the way down to advocates, mothers and daughters.

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Unfortunately, what Clifford’s RTT visit revealed is that most fathers remain clueless  when it comes to the ownership of their daughter’s body, and the limitations of their parental duties concerning her virginity.

In fact the disconnect was so obvious, I cringed several times while watching. T.I.’s penchant for using superlatives and ostentatious language admitted he doesn’t know what the word patriarchy means. Go figure. Raising a girl child, you would think this would prompt men to learn the ways society oppresses his daughter. Black mothers surely have had to be well aware of all the structures facing her sons and daughters. But I digress…

What was all the more perplexing was T.I’s adamant stance that he was unapologetic to anyone aside from his daughter. He maintained that people were being nosey and asserting lies. Yet, it was his own choice to discuss such a private matter with the public…a public he didn’t hesitate to share sexist views with when he believed it was the norm to do so. What T.I. was grossly unaware of, or perhaps he merely underestimated, was the fierce protection of women’s rights. That the fight for equity and respect of reproductive issues is a collective fight that we are all committed to. Protecting one girl’s hymen is protecting all hymens…from delusional politicians and even clueless, albeit well- meaning fathers.

Funny, T.I. expressed that he wished Willow was at the table. I’m willing to bet Willow’s absence wasn’t accidental. I doubt her voice is one that a sexist can easily sit with. 

Given that, I must say that I believe the time at the RTT would have been a much better service had Willow convened a circle of her peers to discuss their views and feelings surrounding what T.I. jokingly referred to as “hymen-gate.”

Because what we don’t need to hear is fathers explain how much they don’t know, and apologize after the fact for their willful ignorance. What we need is for them to sit and hear what the women in their lives want to say without the threat of withholding financial support (which he stated would have been the case had he learned his daughter was a virgin).

Aside from all the painstaking commentary, one thing I was relieved to hear was that T.I. admitted he needs to learn more and that he genuinely does want to do what is in the best interest of his daughter.

We just need men to understand, a young lady indulging in sex is her choice. A choice you can guide only if you are educated. Only if you have open communication. And only if you approach it with the same open mind that you do discussing sex with your sons.

There is so much more to say on the topic…but whatever else needs to be said, I think it is best coming from the heart talk of our daughters and their advocates.

What did you think of T.I’s Red Table Talk interview?

RESOURCES:

You can visit any Planned Parenthood without parental consent.

Parents understand the rights your child has. Here is a great tool.

Black Girls: The New Road Kill

Shock. Awe. Horror. Silence. Indifference. Fade out….

This is the cycle that has followed the unGodly findings of dead Black girls left on the sides Iof interstate highways in America. Our America. Where Black girls can be found brutalized, tied up, decapitated, burned, and viciously beaten to death yet yield only hushed whispers of wonder and taboo talk.

Two summers in a row four Black girls have went missing only to be found mysteriously dumped like road kill, yet the mainstream media has been almost silent with mediocre mentions. Black activists have not seemed to remember to speak their names when proclaiming Black lives matter.

Perhaps it is the clandestine and controversy tied to their lifestyles that has pushed these lives to the margins of our outrage and mourning. Last September, Angelia Mangum and Tjhisha Ball were found naked and bound together on a Florida highway. Now this June, almost a year later, Kayla Ward and Jasilas Wright were found within a few weeks of one another in Louisiana. Their lives stripped of tomorrow’s promise, their stories buried under the outrage for cases with the obvious, menacing targets. Drowned out by the rallying cry for justice in police and racially-motivated killings.

***Publisher’s note:***

Since this blog was published, more tragic incidents have been shared with us. In May 2015, two sisters, Antquonette Hale, 20, and Tahnaizja Smith, 15, were found dead in a vacant lot. Their deaths were ruled homicide.

Yet another tragic case made headlines when Shakiyla Young, Ce’onta Cretter, and Laura Green (all acquaintances ) met the same fate on July 19, 2015. One of the young women was found in a dumpster along I-70. The other two found in a car and on a front porch.

Unlike the Atlanta Child Murders of the 80’s, these despicable killings do not seem to signal a trend…not for national outrage nor retribution. No cry to demand these crimes are solved. That even in death their lives have dignity.

Even in the media spaces and platforms hosted/published by Blacks, there has been a downplayed coverage… if any at all.

A crowd-fund was set up to cover the cost of Tjhisha and Angelia’s funerals. Less than $14K of the total $18K was raised.

My simple question is: why?

Do #BlackGirlsMatter when our girls are misdirected? When their lifestyles aren’t so pretty and poised? Do they matter when they aren’t poster children for scholarships and academic dexterity? Do they matter when they haven’t tapped into their Supreme self?

When? When do Black girls matter?

i hope we lift our Black girls in life before death steals them from us. I hope we speak the names of all we lose.  Today, my sisters I honor your life. I speak your names. May we all honor them and find the answers to their mysterious and cruel deaths.

 

Babies Having Babies: Preventing teen pregnancy for Girls Like Me

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Doing our part, we are featuring a guest blogger to spread awareness and prevent more Girls Like Me from entering motherhood too soon.
Teen Pregnancy: Decisions, decisions and your support system
Becoming a parent, exploring adoption, or thinking about abortion are all issues of complexity for adults. Imagine having to make one of these decisions as a teen; it becomes even more frightening and complex. That was and is my reality still today. Growing up in Gary, Ind., girls like me didn’t get stimulated by schoolwork. As a matter of fact, I was an ‘A’ student. So in the midst of “kickin’ it” and doing what I viewed as no big deal, I found myself in a tight situation. Pregnant at 16.

While teen pregnancy has decreased in the past decade, the numbers haven’t dropped enough. Recent research shows that 39.1 of every 1,000 births are to that of teen mothers. Additionally, three out of 10 young women become parents before the age of 20. I became a part of that statistic several years ago when I found myself a teen mother twice by the age of 18. At that age, one should be focused on furthering their education, finding employment and gaining the tools necessary in order to function in the real world. National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month focuses on the need to continue to increase the awareness of both teens and adults during the month of May.

One of the most vital parts to increasing awareness is to offer teens real-life examples and experiences such as mine to nurture the thought process of understanding that SEX HAS CONSEQUENCES! While pregnancy is not the only risk associated with having sex, it is one that I have learned has one of the greatest impacts. Becoming a parent at 16 left me with an array of decisions to make. For starters, how would I be able to provide for myself and a child at such a young age? As a teen parent I had to learn through trial and error. One of the most important elements in being able to have a chance at successful parenting is your support system. A strong support system can better equip you in making the right decisions. At the time, I had a weak support system. My parents did very little to help me. However that lack of strength in my support system motivated me to do more to help myself and my child.

Times change the same as societal views. It’s no longer taboo to be openly sexually active. Teens are usually misinformed by friends, television, music and so on about sex or just don’t take time to acknowledge the repercussions that exist. Dealing with the decisions that arise if one becomes pregnant requires a level of maturity, so does the choice to have sex. But why create such a burden for yourself when there are so many alternatives? It is unrealistic to believe that teens aren’t having sex, hence the need to continue to promote and strengthen awareness among our teens. I lacked the maturity level, the education, and resources to effectively handle the situation. With that being said however, once it’s done, it’s done. You have little time to think of what to do and explore options. The bottom line is that the choice to engage in sex is a decision that has to be made with a level of maturity. As a teen you usually are not equipped to make the right decision. My advice to all teens is to educate, educate and, educate some more. Educate yourself and your peers. Be your own person. Never do things because your friends are doing it or out of fear of being rejected by your peers. Succumbing to peer pressure is for lames. Remember, only you will be left with the consequences. Familiarize yourself with healthy alternatives to sex. If you decide that you are ready to have sex, make sure that you educate yourself on ways to protect yourself. And in the event that you are faced with becoming a young parent, use that as tool to motivate yourself to succeed and build a better future for your child. That’s what I did. I love being a parent; it is one of the primary motivators for me becoming a better person every day. Life’s challenges and experiences help shape the individuals we become.

Don’t just increase teen pregnancy prevention in the month of May, increase awareness every day.
PhatPhat writes on her blog, phatphatmemoirs.blogspot.com, regularly and continues to learn and live each day while sharing her experiences to help us all become better people. The PhatPhat Memoirs book series will be published Fall 2012.
You can do your part to help in the cycle of teen pregnancy.