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Riding High With T.I.

I found myself in a movie theater this weekend, cooling my heels along with the rest of my tribe as we watched the movie Takers. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be writing about this super fast paced action thriller, but there was so much dramatic irony in the first scene to feature rap impresario Clifford “T.I.” Harris, especially since I am right here in Atlanta where Mr. Harris resides, that I figured I had to take a crack at extracting some sort of meaning from the whole thing.

Let us rewind for a minute, to last Wednesday, September 1st, when the aforementioned Mr. Harris and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle were arrested for possession of marijuana and Ecstasy after a routine police stop in L.A. Mr. Harris had recently been released early from prison, and was on probation.

Rapper T.I. and his wife were arrested late Wednesday on drug possession charges after sheriff’s deputies smelled marijuana coming from their vehicle during a traffic stop.

Sheriff’s deputies pulled over the Atlanta-based rapper, Clifford Harris, 29, and his 36-year-old wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, about 10:30 p.m. at 9255 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.

“During the course of the traffic stop, deputies smelled a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle,” L.A. County sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

Rapper T.I. arrested on drug charges in West Hollywood

If we take it from the top and go back to the beginning of the movie where Ghost, the character Mr. Harris plays, is shown sitting in a police holding cell, you might be able to understand how the parallels between make believe and real life became so intertwined I could barely focus on watching the next scene.

The movie was originally supposed to be released a couple of years ago, but got tabled due to the prison time Mr. Harris faced for attempting to buy illegal automatic weapons. So now we have the very same fresh out of jail Mr. Harris getting arrested again the very week the movie finally opens.


Let’s just say there isn’t a whole lot of sympathy for Mr. Harris around the ATL these days.  

The movie itself wasn’t bad, with pacing that moved quickly, albeit a little too fast at times, and a cast who put in a solid effort. Ordinarily, with Takers garnering the number one box office spot (why the movie business has the public excited about how much money a movie makes has always seemed odd to me, but that is a topic for another time) during its opening weekend, Mr. Harris would be taking his bows now for his roles as both an actor and a producer on this project.

Instead, he is hiding out from the press.

One of the things you used to hear quite frequently from the African American community whenever bad things like this happened to high profile blacks was “the ‘man’ was out to get him” or “he was set-up.” Nowadays, it seems that most of us instantly file these kinds of incidents under “dumb stuff black people do.”

With so many variations of the life story of Mr. Harris floating around, you have to wonder sometimes if actors slash rappers like him don’t get confused when they wake up in the morning. Who am I today? Am I the studio gangster/video tough guy? The besuited, bejeweled music mogul? The reformed felon who preaches nonviolence to kids? The ambitious kid from Bankhead Highway who grew up to produce hit movies? 

It doesn’t take a Supreme Court justice to tell you where Mr. Harris is very likely to be headed in the near future, though, especially since he bears absolutely no resemblance to Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton.

The even sadder thing, at least from a writer’s perspective, is that after four hundred and sixty odd words, I have extracted exactly nothing of substance from the dilemma Mr. Harris faces.


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