Rapper T.I. was denied bond this week after his arrest over the weekend on weapons charges. ATF agents arrested T.I.—whose real name is Clifford Harris—in Atlanta after he allegedly tried to buy three machine guns, two silencers, and a pistol through his bodyguard. Lawyers for Harris—who, as a convicted felon, could face a stiff sentence if convicted—said they would press for bail at a hearing on Friday.
What the commentators said
T.I.’s arrest “may only add interest” to the BET Hip Hop Awards, said Rashod D. Ollison in the Baltimore Sun. The “multiplatinum-selling, Grammy-winning” rapper was up for a leading nine awards in the show, which airs Wednesday but was taped Saturday hours after the arrest. But the future of hip-hop may be brighter if the industry can cultivate “controversy-free” stars who will generate some much-needed positive publicity.
T.I. could have spent Saturday night basking in his success at the BET ceremony, where he won two awards, said Cynthia Tucker in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Instead, he spent the evening in police custody, facing what could be years in prison. Apologists say rappers are being persecuted by “the Man,” but the young black men and women who glorify violence and think going to prison is cool have only themselves to blame for “their own destruction.”
It’s easy to get “all amped” watching T.I. “brandishing a baseball bat” in his “Hurt” video, said Tom Breihan in The Village Voice’s Status Ain’t Hood blog. Until you realize that when he sings about shooting people, he’s not joking around. Without a clear “divide” between “displays of bravado and actual threats of violence,” the music becomes “too problematic” to enjoy.
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