In his first televised interview since a plea bargain on weapon charges, multi-platinum recording artist and actor T.I., a.k.a. Clifford Harris, Jr., speaks exclusively to BET News in the half-hour special T.I. SPEAKS, premiering Wednesday, May 7 at 7:30 PM*. He directly answers the tough questions from host Toure and at-risk youth about his life and future after being sentenced to a year in prison. In a compelling moment, he explains why someone who seems to have everything — money, power and fame — would risk it all.
On October 13, 2007, T.I. was set to perform at BET’s second annual HIP HOP AWARDS in Atlanta, but he never made it to the stage. Just hours before the show, the Grammy Award winner and budding actor was taken into custody by federal authorities who alleged that he gave his bodyguard cash to buy firearms. Never bashful in his lyrics about his days of drug dealing and guns, this arrest was just another line in the 27-year old Atlanta native’s already long rap sheet.
While not making excuses for his poor decisions, the rapper discusses his best friend’s murder in 2006 and explains how being a celebrity has its drawbacks and “ignites a certain paranoia.” He says, “Every one knew me and I knew no one … you can’t tell if a person is a fan or not until the (car) window winds down.” With a new baby on the way, a forthcoming marriage, a new album and the one-year jail sentence awaiting him, T.I. details how this entire ordeal has changed his life. Claiming a new understanding for life and its meaning, T.I. delivers a strong message about decision-making to a group of at-risk students and reveals his thoughts about going back to jail and his career’s future. He says, “I must be a man and stand up and accept responsibility. I exercised extremely poor judgment, and for that, I must be willing to pay whatever price that comes before me.”
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