T.I. discussed the perils of activism in a new Instagram clip from his podcast ExpediTIously with TIP “T.I.” Harris. In the video, the rapper has a conversation with controversial civil rights activist Shaun King about how his work has negatively affected his life.
“So I’ve seen you speak about how your activism has affected your life and your lifestyle on the daily,” he said to King. “I’ve seen you speak about having death threats, and people speak about making attempts on your life. But the thing is for you, that’s coming from the other side.”
“Well sometimes,” King answered. So for instance, when I first started becoming known for fighting against police brutality and stuff, it was mainly white supremacists that were fighting against me. Then in 2015 or so it became mainstream conservatives were the main people fighting against me.”
He continued, “Then, in 2016, it was liberal and moderate white people that would fight against me when I would speak out. But by 2017, 2018, some of the most painful hate that I would get on a regular basis would come from Black folk. And that’s on a daily basis.”
T.I. empathized with the Black Lives Matter activist, remarking that the discouraging reactions from others can make it seem as if all the effort has been in vain.
“That’s a different type of pain,” T.I. agreed. “It makes you feel like all your efforts are useless, like it’s a futile activity to even try to reach; misunderstandings happen every day. But once you recognize that there’s a misunderstanding, and address it as a misunderstanding, to continue on with that level of ignorance….and to hear people say ‘man why don’t you just mind your business, you talking too much!’ Bruh. Because I’m the only m———-r that care enough to talk. If somebody else say something sometimes, I could shut the f—k up.”
T.I. is no stranger to community outreach and activism. He’s spoken out against police brutality, oppression and putting an end to poverty for minorities. He has engaged with youth programs for boys and girls, participated in Black Lives Matter protests, and advocated for election participation among the community.
In a November interview with Vibe, T.I. also admitted that in the world of community organizing, he has his own struggles.
“It’s just dealing with so many different personalities really is the most challenging thing,” he said.
“Having to insert myself among so many different personalities and people with other perspectives and other mindsets — that’s the most difficult part about the community work.
T.I added that while activism work could be taxing, he’s receptive to it, “because everybody don’t grow the same. Everybody don’t view things through the same lens; everybody ain’t at the same point in their evolution.”
When asked if it gets challenging for him at times, he answered “It gets a bit heavy. But I think understanding comes in the morning.”
In 2019, T.I.’s home state of Georgia honored him for his years of community service, according to Blavity. He was touted for establishing the Harris Community Works and For the Love of Our Fathers nonprofit foundations. The organizations place emphasis “on encouraging and steering disadvantaged children toward better opportunities and assists persons who have Alzheimer’s and dementia,” respectively.