Rapper and philanthropist T.I. sat down with Sway Calloway of “Sway in the Morning” radio show for an in-depth conversation to break down the assault on Black men in America. The music mogul has experienced everything from the trap to the prison cell to living life as an award-winning artist.
In 2007, T.I. was arrested on gun charges and was sentenced to a year in prison. It’s been 10 years since the arrest and the anniversary of the groundbreaking interview with Sway just days before going away. He now marks those critical times behind bars as what fueled him to educate himself on the prison system.
“It’s strategic and it’s by design rather than something that just haphazardly happened. It ain’t just bad luck! They created laws to enslave us all over again and those laws direct us into the prison system. They know the corporation systems will have next-to-free labor to make our commodities and profit margins higher. That’s a privatized prison, which incentivizes militarization of the police force to create problems and to build cases and increase incarceration. The war on drugs, the crack laws, and the three strikes [law] were all created to get n—as in prison,” he told Sway.
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 57.6 percent of Black children live in single-parent homes headed by mothers. Many of these children don’t have access to the education others are afforded. Sway asked T.I. for his thoughts on why the education system seems suitable only for a handful of the students and his response left audience members stunned.
“You can say ‘educate yourself’ but these schools are made to have substandard educational systems. The standardized test in third grade in Georgia uses the percentage of kids who fail as data for how many prisons they need to build. If those are the kind of diabolical schemes that are being played against you, then how can you get anywhere without being as dirty as the plan that is against you?” he said.
The two also dove into T.I.’s newest short film highlighting the nation’s ongoing battle with police brutality. Attendees got a chance to watch the heart-wrenching project directed by Jessie Terrero. T.I. has been extremely vocal over the past year about the racial tension brewing in America, but this time he used his gift of lyricism to address the topic. “You can’t operate on the same standards as the everyday civilian and use the excuse of being scared when you have been sworn to serve and protect the people. Police officers are supposed to be trained, have mental preparation and a higher level of skill when they are in these hostile situations. Anytime you operate in fear, you will put yourself and the integrity of the law enforcement system in jeopardy,” T.I. said.
T.I has never been one to back down from a little bit of political controversy. He and several other rappers have recently voiced their disdain for Trump and the Republican Party. T.I. criticized the president for calling for Snoop Dogg to be arrested because of his actions in the music video “Lavender” where he shoots at a Trump clown with a toy gun. T.I. definitely let Trump have it and didn’t hold back one ounce of his frustration. Sway read the explicit message to the audience and the crowd shockingly applauded T.I. for the profanity-laced Twitter rant.
“I don’t care if he responds! To be honest, it’s not really about him. I am speaking to him, but I want the message to touch the people who follow him. I want to talk to them. He’s rich, but the ones who follow him ain’t got nothing. For them to think under this leadership that they are going to just ostracize all of our heroes and the people who have shown people like me the way. They’re going to stand behind theirs come hell and high water. He possibly leaked some of this country’s most confidential information. That’s treason! They protected him, so that’s what I’m going to do for mine,” the rapper said.