T.I. is speaking out after YouTube personality and former gang member Charleston White threatened to “Trayvon Martin” his 18-year-old son King. His vile words have been strewn across social media like dirty socks littering a bedroom floor, forcing Tip and his family to field a flood of comments both good and bad.
But the Hustle Gang boss is dumbfounded by the lack of support from people he considered part of his community.
In an interview with AllHipHop, Tip explained he was “distraught” on Tuesday (October 11) when he and White wound up trading shots online.
“I was just in a real dark place—and not at all because of the words of a buffoon,” he says. “Not because of that. It was the silence of the community that really hurt my feelings. For a couple reasons, one, I’m a grown man. I’m a big boy. Whatever somebody says about me, whatever happens to me is fair game. God has blessed me to be able to deal with anything that come my way.
“But it kinda just brought back all of the hurt that came with the first situation when social media was used to attack my family. Not just me. Not just T.I. But to attack my family, and it was weaponized against me for political interests.”
Tip is referring to the controversy surrounding former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms and mayoral candidate Felicia Moore, who lost the election to Andre Dickens last year. He accused Moore of spreading lies about him and his family.
“It was later found out there was a politician behind that ‘cause they wanted to remove me and my voice and my platform from being able to support Keisha Lance-Bottoms,” he explains. “That politician still lost. After that election, that politician came out and unknowingly confessed. Social media was weaponized to attack my family and everybody just sat there and watched and said nothing.
“That’s hurtful because anytime there’s ever a righteous cause, anytime there’s ever some injustice done to the community, anytime I’m able to show up and support a righteous cause through a foundation, I’m always there—whether I’m donating money, whether I’m donating time, whether I’m offering insight, hope, love, support, hospitality—anything I can do, I’m always there. My family has always been there for 20 years. You see me in a position where I’m being attacked and I can’t do nothing for myself, if I can’t protect myself, what will the community do on my behalf? And if that answer is nothing, that hurts me. Because the enemy also sees it and it feel like you being used.”
Tip and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris have weathered a firestorm of allegations over the last couple of years and he’s well aware the effect it had on his reputation, but he says it’s not about that.
“Everybody don’t appreciate T.I. and I understand that,” he admits. “I ain’t everybody’s cup of tea. I get that. It’s the support of what’s right. Every parent should be outraged. I can’t believe it’s being passed around by people who are the first to ask for support for their causes. They’re
laughing, sharing, liking and participating in this nonsense. That’s what I can’t believe. The words of a fool don’t surprise me. The silence of the community is what surprises me.”
As for a solution, Tip says it’s going to take collective action; the community at-large needs to stand up and say, “We are not accepting this.” He continues, “They have to say, ‘We are not in support of this. We will not allow you to do this to a family that’s done too much for too many
He also issued a stern warning to anyone supporting White’s commentary, which goes for publications spreading the video of White’s threats aimed at his son.
“Any platform that gives light to it, I’m asking any platform that gives light to that lunatic, don’t call me for no interviews,” he says matter-of-factly. “If you see me on the red carpet, let me pass you by. Don’t ask me to show up to your event. If that’s the attention you want, that’s the
attention you deserve and you don’t deserve to be in my presence. You don’t deserve for me to be associated with your brand and that goes for anybody standing with it. Anybody sharing, liking, anybody in support of it, when you see me, don’t reach out to slap my hand, don’t ask me
for no picture, don’t call me to come to your event, please don’t fool with me at all.”
Shaun King and Deon Taylor are two of the few who are siding with T.I. As King wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday (October 12): “ Some cowardly man called himself making public death threats against TI’s teenage son, King. He started targeting King and somebody else’s son for clout. I won’t even repeat the vile and violent words this shameful man put out there, but I will say these 3 things: 1. Leave people’s kids alone. You’ve crossed a damn red line when you start attacking people’s kids. Period. You run the risk now of causing some serious trouble for yourself and for others. It’s a line you don’t cross, a code.
“2. The Internet has people so hungry for fame and attention that they will do ANYTHING to get it. It’s shameful. And it’s dangerous. For everybody. 3. Social media companies need to ban people for making death threats and targeting and harassing people’s kids. This ain’t free speech. And we all need to do a better job of having each other’s back.”
While Tip understands the positives and negatives of the internet, he concludes: “It has to start somewhere. It has to start with someone who has standards, morals and principles. The internet celebrates the worst in people. It rewards the worst in people, so people abandon their morals and principles because they know they can be celebrated and get notoriety that goes against humanity.
“It starts with the fundamental foundation of people who stand up and say we ain’t going for that. The buck stops here. Anybody who support me, that’s what I’m on and if you support that, don’t ever contact, call or reach out to me. I’m watching.”