When news of Rapper T.I’s wife Tiny’s eye surgery hit the internet I didn’t know how to feel. Media sites reported that Tiny had undergone surgery to change her eye color from brown to ice gray permanently and the internet had a field day knocking her for “trying to be White” and contributing to the erasure of Black identity.
I, for someone who makes a living off of giving her opinion, was awfully nonchalant about the whole thing. Who was I to have a right to feel anything about what Tiny did with her body and her money? What spurred me to formulate an opinion on the matter, in fact, wasn’t Tiny at all, but rather the reaction that a fair portion of the Black community seemed to have towards her actions.
The weird thing about it is, people have called Tiny ugly for ages now. I’ve honestly never met anyone who has said otherwise about her. People constantly pick at her relationship with TI, a man many agree is basically universally attractive, and wonder just why he’s with her and has been with her for this long. “He could get any woman he wants and yet he chooses to stay with the woman he loves who’s also the mother of his kids, why?” they wonder. I guess there’s a certain [unrealistic] standard many people feel rappers need to uphold and I get that – rappers constantly make it a point to tell everyone how they have the “baddest” women on Earth and consumers expect to see that not only in music videos but in their day to day lives as well, but I have never felt this excuses the constant barrage of insults hurled at Tiny, a middle aged mother and wife.
But then POP culture enthusiasts are hardly known for their caring demeanor and well thought out opinions – one needs only read a few YouTube comments to know that, yet still I expected better.
Eventually though, I got used to it – the constant Ms Piggy jabs directed at Tiny, the questioning of her relationship with TI, all of it – It became a norm I grew to accept. And it was hardly ever people of other ethnicities poking fun at Tiny for her looks, it was usually, I dare say almost always Black people.
I could only imagine what that must be like – constantly being told that you aren’t the best that your life partner can do and that you aren’t all that attractive, really. Even your partner’s unwavering affection couldn’t always shield you from the negative emotions it must bring up, and loving yourself becomes a necessary and intense act, one that one could falter on sometimes, but I don’t think this is what happened here, well, not really anyway.
Apparently what motivated Tiny to get the change was a desire to look like her mother, since she has light eyes too, and I can respect that. One has the right to do as they please to feel how they want. It just so happens that now, Tiny, who was already light skinned and often blonde, is fairly White passing.
And I think that’s the real problem here, for many people. Tiny didn’t bleach her skin for ages and conk her hair while uttering anti Black sentiments to look White and have people feel like she was Anti Black – all she did was change her eye color. And for many, White passing Black people are still “The Enemy”, for many, they get a “pass” in situations where Black people are lumped together because some people feel “they don’t count”, and that makes them hostile.
The thing is though, I feel no particular way about Tiny’s surgery, still. If she’s happy, and she was motivated by something that’s deeply personal to her and not a desire to no longer be herself, there really is no problem.
I’ve noticed since the news broke that oddly enough, less people have been calling her ugly. Maybe they’re too busy bashing her decision to bash her looks, I don’t know. But it made me wonder whether it’s better to have people consider you an unattractive Black woman or a mediocre looking White woman. From what I can see, for many, it’s the latter. Once the hype dies down she’ll be an inspiration to some and an oddity to others, and that really doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things.
Whether Tiny had continued to live as she was or changed, as she has done, there would be criticism of her looks that has no real tie in with Black self love or anything of the sort. Anybody trying to make this about that is trying to use her as a scapegoat/example for their own agenda.
A few days ago images of her daughter Zonnique with similar contacts made it online and the reactions to her were completely different. Her eyes were “captivating” and “sexy” and I really couldn’t help but chuckle at how fickle human beings can be. It’s kind of like how bright hair is “ghetto” on Black women but “daring” on White women or how thick licks are “coony” on Black women but “thick and plump” on everyone else. Human beings are truly something else.