The first I'd ever heard of rapper T.I. was about a month ago when he and his wife were arrested for drug possession in West Hollywood. Apparently he's had a number of other legal issues, including a prison stint for attempting to buy machine guns from an undercover officer.
He didn't necessarily sound like a stand-up guy is what I'm saying. Plus, his real name is Clifford Harris Jr. It always seems like gangsta rappers who are born with slightly nerdy names are in for a lifetime of having something to prove, you know what I mean?
But Clifford—I mean, T.I.—is the unlikely provider of what has to be the feel-good celebrity story of the week, if not the year.
Or is it?
On Wednesday in his home city of Atlanta, T.I. heard about a suicidal man who was threatening to jump off the V103 radio station building. T.I. started calling people at the radio station, who told him the man wasn't responding to their pleas not to jump, so T.I. drove himself to the scene.
Upon arriving, he talked to police, who worked with a negotiator to help T.I. create a video message for the despondent man. In a phone interview with People, T.I. describes what he said on the video.
"I told him, 'It's not that bad' and [said] that I was there for him and [that] 'there is nothing that you can't get through as long as you are willing to put the time and energy into it. […] but first thing is first. You're going to have to come on down here and holler at me.' "
Negotiators showed the video to the man, and about 20 minutes later, he came down—meeting T.I. in the lobby before being taken to the hospital for treatment. T.I. says he gave the man some advice, but didn't try and convince him it would be an easy road to recovery. "I'm gonna come check you out and see if there is anything else I can do to help," T.I. remembers telling him. "But I'm not saying I'm going to snap my fingers and life is going to be perfect from here on out."
T.I. says he's never personally considered suicide, but acknowledges that he can relate to going through hard times, noting his recent drug arrest and how it's left him feeling "tired and weak."
Unfortunately, he's now being accused of using the entire thing as a publicity stunt. Man, color me naive, but I don't buy it. What, he was sitting around trying to think of how to improve his troubled image, heard about the jumper, and went, Oh thank god?
Who knows how this whole thing would have ended if T.I. hadn't decided to get involved. I say good on him. Publicity, shmublicity.
What's your call? Do you think there's any way T.I. engineered this story to make him look better?
Image via Trapmuzik.com