Rapper T.I. has finally addressed the controversial comments he made around his daughter’s hymen earlier this month.
The 39-year-old dad of six told podcast hosts of a now-deleted episode on Ladies Like Us he would take his 18-year-old daughter Deyjah Harris to the gynecologist every year. The purpose of this trip was to find out if her hymen is “still intact.”
The rapper’s comments caused outrage on social media sites and many experts, including Dr. Jen Gunter, weighed in on his comments.
“The hymen is no virginity indicator, 50 per cent of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen. The hymen is often very flexible,” she wrote on Twitter earlier this month.
On Monday, the rapper and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith on her Facebook chat show Red Table Talk. The rapper quickly addressed his comments about “hymen-gate.”
“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.
“I began to embellish and exaggerate,” he continued. “I think that a lot of people kind of took it extremely literal … I honestly thought people knew me better than that.”
Smith asked the rapper if he understood the sensitivity around his comments when he made them. T.I. replied that in the moment, he did not.
“I understand it now,” he continued. “However, my intentions, I think, have been terribly misconstrued and misconceived. I never said I was in any exam room. That is an assumption … it is a falsity. I never said that it was being done in present day.”
T.I. noted some headlines implied his daughter had these “check-ins” with a doctor at the age of 18. He said these were pre-planned doctors’ visits that happened when she was 16. T.I. added his daughter’s mother — singer Ms. Niko — was also there for the visits.
“Most fathers don’t go but he was just present … he didn’t make the appointment,” his wife Tiny added.
The rapper told Smith his daughter didn’t have any objections to the appointments but she was disappointed with his comments on the podcast.
‘Above and beyond to protect mine’
Smith asked if the rapper understood how his comments could have been seen as “controlling” for some, but he did not agree.
He noted this “protection” meant being aware of the “slimy little boys” who want to “defile and destroy the sanctity I have.”
And in regards to comments around his daughter’s virginity, the rapper added since she turned 18, he no longer has control “of anything.” He went on to say though, that a parent’s role, in his mind, is still important.
“There has to be someone there to clarify what is acceptable, what is unacceptable … I trust and believe that I put moral standards, principles and greatness in all of my children. But until they know how to unlock it and use those powers themselves, it has to be harnessed.”
“I’m not there to protect necessarily virginity.”
Smith followed up and asked the rapper how he would feel if his daughter had lost her virginity at 15 or 16. “Childhood ends when you lose your virginity,” he said. “You ended your childhood and attempt to begin adulthood.”
Smith’s mother and co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris asked if the rapper’s sons and daughters’ virginity was seen differently.
“If my son goes out and gets a girl pregnant, how is the household changed for those nine months?” he asked. “The household does not necessarily change those in nine months … where if my daughter comes home, the household changes immediately. We were raised to provide and protect.”
How parents talk about virginity
Previously speaking with Global News, relationship and sex expert Jessica O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJessPodcast, says virginity is a social construct.
“Virginity tends to be over emphasized based on gender, with young women pressured to maintain their so-called virginity and young men to claim they’ve lost their so-called virginity.”
O’Reilly says there are better ways to have open conversations about sex.