TI says powerful Black men are 'ridiculed' amid sex trafficking allegations, slammed for using 'race card'
TI has spoken out against those who challenge Black men in positions of power. In an interview on February 24 with The Shade Room, the hip-hop veteran took a firm stance about believing in himself. He gave the interview amid allegations that have put TI, whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr, under the scanner.
On January 28, 15 women came forward to accuse TI and his wife Tiny of sex trafficking and coercing them into sexual relations involving drugs and money, according to reports. A former friend of the Harris family who accused the rapper of assault, Sabrina Peterson, compiled several messages she received from those alleging abuse. One anonymous woman claimed that she went to TI and Tiny’s hotel suite at the Ritz-Carlton and her phone was confiscated and cocaine and molly were handed out. “I watched him drag girls back and forth from the bedroom, to the bathroom, to the living room,” she said. “One girl was crying because she wanted to leave but they refused to give her her phone to call an Uber.”
Some women said they lost consciousness while with the couple or woke up without remembering the previous night. Shortly after, Shekinah Jo, a known hairstylist and reality TV star, claimed that Peterson used to "recruit women to participate in sexual activities with TI and Tiny".
TI denies claims
According to Vulture magazine, the Harrises issued a statement denying the allegations. A spokesperson said, "Mr and Mrs Harris want to be on record and more importantly want the public to know they emphatically deny in the strongest way possible the egregiously appalling allegations being made against them by Sabrina Peterson." They continued, "The Harrises have had difficulty with this woman for well over a decade. They are taking this matter very seriously, and if these allegations don’t end, they will take appropriate legal action."
'A Black man in a position of power... will be challenged, ridiculed'
Fast-forward to today, and TI has dropped a few words on being "challenged" as a Black man with power. When asked by The Shade Room how TI manages to be a public figure amid good and bad press, TI said, "Focus on my truth and my purpose. You know what I'm saying? Can't nobody tell me about me," adding, "Your opinion about me will never overrule my opinion of myself. Your fantasy of me will never overrule my fact of myself. The tail shall never wag the dog."
"One thing social media has shown us and society at large is, one, that, you know, anytime a Black man who's in a position of power and he uses his platform to speak on behalf of the community and to help people who need the most help, that's going to be objected to, challenged, ridiculed... I mean, from Malcolm X to John Africa to, you know what I'm saying, anybody." He added, "It's gonna always be challenged as long as you, you know, trying to be a voice for the voices. You just got to believe enough in your purpose. Just stand up and go through it. But other people's fantasy and fiction of me will never overrule the facts I know of myself."
Despite the couple denying the allegations fans are not satisfied and are demanding that they address the sex trafficking allegations. "So .... y’all know we ain’t forget riiiiiiiiightttt!!" said a fan on Instagram while another wrote, "He gotta address the allegations."
One fan said, "He need to talk about the importance of consent." Another shared, "He got more serious things to discuss, respectfully." Another said, "That's what he wants to talk about? Lol." Another fan added, "He's using the Race Card to deflect from the situation."