BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
T.I. says he believes his arrest early Wednesday morning while trying to enter his residence at the Eagle's Landing Country Club was due to being in “a very white area” of Georgia.
The 37-year-old Atlanta native told The Blast website that law enforcement near his home are “white cops in a very white area,” and he was promptly arrested after he and a security guard – who is black – had a “very heated debate.” T.I. denied that anything became physical.
The rapper legally known as Clifford Harris Jr., was charged with public drunkenness, simple assault and disorderly conduct in Henry Country.
By Wednesday afternoon, T.I. was home to celebrate his son's birthday (see video below).
T.I.’s lawyer, Steve Sadow, released a statement that said T.I. returned home and, having lost his key, tried to wake a sleeping guard to let him into the gated residence. Sadow said the guard refused to allow T.I. entry, even after the rapper contacted his wife, Xscape member Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who confirmed her husband’s identity.
"The guard continued to refuse entry without justification. Words were exchanged and apparently the guard and/or a supervisor called the police. When the police arrived, they were not interested in hearing Tip's side of the story and wrongfully chose to end the situation by arresting Tip."
T.I. and his friend were both arrested.
His friend, Marquinarius Holmes, 40, of Stockbridge, was arrested on outstanding charges out of Clayton County and for not having proof of car insurance, the sheriff’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
T.I. was released on $2,250 bond Wednesday morning.
Since 2001, T.I has carried a high profile in the rap industry, with hits including “What You Know,” “Live Your Life” with Rihanna and “Dead and Gone” with Justin Timberlake. He’s worked with artists ranging from Future to Drake to Mariah Carey and, since the mid-2000s, carved out a steady acting career as well.
T.I.’s most recent album, “Paperwork,” arrived in 2014, but the rapper has been working on a new release, “The Dime Trap,” that is expected this year.
In the interim, he’s starred in the 2016 remake of the miniseries “Roots,” acted alongside Jamie Foxx in the 2017 crime film, “Sleepless” and will appear in the upcoming Atlanta-filmed “Ant-man and The Wasp” as a member of Ant-Man’s crew.
Despite the legal scars on his resume, T.I. has been a vocal champion of human rights and social justice, often participating in community events.
In 2016, he worked with Gina Belafonte – daughter of Harry Belafonte – to spearhead the Many Rivers to Cross music and arts festival in Chattahoochee Hills to bring awareness to social activism.
For the past 12 years, the rapper has handed out Thanksgiving turkeys to seniors in need as part of his non-profit organization, Harris Community Works; in December, he visited the Camp Creek Marketplace Target and spent $20,000 in 30 minutes on gifts for random customers.
Last month, BET announced a new Atlanta-based series , “The Grand Hustle,” which will give 16 hopeful entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for a position and six-figure salary within T.I.’s Grand Hustle music empire.