Editor’s note: This story contains content that may be offensive to some readers.
Only some people can have it both ways.
If you’re in entertainment, misogyny and sexism is OK, because it’s about creative license and the freedom to express yourself. But if you’re the president, you better leave it at the door. In this era, our morals fluctuate, depending on where you’re applying them.
Rapper T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, Jr., is benefiting from our shifting moral compass. Since he’s a celebrity opposed to President Donald Trump, his brand of female objectification is apparently acceptable.
In a new video, T.I. is seen smoking a cigar behind the Resolute desk in a depiction of the Oval Office, where first lady Melania Trump’s likeness dances and performs a strip-tease for the rapper, ultimately ending up completely nude on the desktop.
I ain’t Kanye. ? pic.twitter.com/BCS8nkbn1M
— T.I. (@Tip) October 13, 2018
It seems a wobbly platform to stand on, a fine line so weighted by hypocrisy it’s nearly untethered, to use a naked depiction of the first lady to reprimand the president for his own history of misogyny. Yet that’s exactly what T.I. has done, and he’ll get away with it.
What makes one man unfit for the presidency brings another man riches and accolades foreign to most of the world’s population. Odd, isn’t it, that our culture’s moral compass applies to one man, while for another, it’s acceptable to turn in the sanctity of women like a poker chip in a twisted game of political theater?
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, was quick to call out the glaring margin between the two moral codes, asking, “How is this acceptable?”
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) October 13, 2018
Grisham is certainly not alone in asking this question, but given T.I.’s political pedigree, an answer probably isn’t coming.
The rapper, known for songs like “Live Your Life” and “Whatever You Like,” has railed against Kanye West for his support of the president, with whom he met Thursday. T.I. rebuked West for his “a** kissing” and “boot licking.”
“I refuse to associate myself with something so vile, weak [and] inconsiderate to the effect this has on the greater good of all our people,” T.I. wrote in an Instagram post.
Yet in his endeavor to stand against Donald Trump — “something so vile” — T.I. found it necessary to sexualize Melania Trump in a truly vile way. But these days, morals are relative and virtues are transactional.
Matters of right and wrong, which should be absolute, are now up for debate, depending on where you are — and who you are. T.I., apparently, can have it both ways.