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Every week, after “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” airs, I know I’m guaranteed to find a mixture of commentary about Mrs. Harris (aka Tiny)  throughout my Twitter feed. Not because of anything she may have said or done during the episode, but the subject never fails to be her looks. And it doesn’t just stop at Twitter. In fact, whenever the subject of T.I. or the show comes up, Tiny’s appearance always finds a way into the conversation–and it’s rarely anything positive. Her face. Her shape. Her hairstyles. Her choice of clothing. Her makeup. Tiny just can’t seem to catch a break.

But, why?

For the record, I’m not a Tiny fan. I don’t know much about her outside of the fact that she is wed to one of my favorite artists and she was a part of the group Xscape. But from what I’ve observed of her and T.I., they seem to have a good relationship. They’re both family oriented and despite their large blended family, they make things work. They enjoy each other’s company, and they have fun together. Their love seems real, and I like them together.

As an individual, Tiny seems caring and sweet. As a mother she comes across as loving and attentive. And as a wife she has proven herself to be loyal and devoted. So why is it so hard for people to accept her? Why is it so easy to poke fun at her?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t know how she pulled T.I.!” And I hear this especially from other women. Could it be that some of us have bought into the idea that men of a certain stature must have some dazzling beauty on their arm whether they make a good match for them or not? What about character, personality, and overall chemistry?

I think it’s deeper than Tiny. The bigger picture is that our society has become so consumed with looks and surface level attraction that we often fail to see past all of that. We mentally pair people together based on fame, looks and stature when quite often these handsome couples are void of sincere compatibility or anything in common besides looking good together in a photo op. And while T.I. and Tiny may not be the prototype for healthy marriages, I believe there’s more to their relationship than just physical attraction (and not that I’m ruling that out).

I admit, I used to be one to look at certain couples and scratch my head, and from time-to-time I still catch myself still doing it. He is too cute for her or she is too pretty for him, I would think to myself. But it wasn’t until I fell for someone who wasn’t what I thought was “my type.” I never thought this person was attractive, yet his personality truly won me over. We clicked. We bonded. And we got each other. It’s that thing many people experience in life, when you realize there’s more to love than a great smile, charming words, and a nice physique. You find that there’s something at our core, beneath our pretty or not so pretty exteriors that bonds us to another soul, despite what package it comes in.

We often call out artists for constantly displaying such unrealistic and unhealthy images of women in their videos, but when we see an artist settle down with someone like Tiny she gets ridiculed. Why subject each other as women to such double standards? It’s hard enough trying to embrace our own unique beauty, why make it hard for the next woman.

No, Tiny doesn’t look like the average girl from a video, and she is no more glamorous than the average girl around the way. She’s down-to-earth; she’s not picture-perfect, and who says she has to be? None of this should matter. True beauty is not what you see but it’s the essence of a person reflected in their actions, spirit and the good that they give of themselves to others. Overall, I think it’s unfair Tiny gets so much flack simply because of her looks. If she’s is to be critiqued, let it be for something more substantial than the fact that she does not fit everyone’s standard of beauty. And of course, that goes for anyone else.

So the next time we look at a couple and think “Why her?” or “Why him?” let’s challenge ourselves to wonder, why not? And if we can’t think of an anything beyond the surface, if we dig deeper, we just may be able to find the answer.

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  • MilkChocolate

    Let’s be real, it’s true, a lot of famous black men flock to the lighter skinned sisters. There are songs about it and they say it in interviews. At least she’s a sister… A shallow brother like that couldn’t provide the mental stimulation a sister like me needs anyway. I’m 50 and look 35, my skin is chocolate, smooth and flawless. I still get carded occassionally. I love my dark skin and wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Oh yeah, I think Tiny and T.I. have found a way to make it work. She had his back when he was slangin and she was with Xscape. Not so attractive girls need love too…

  • Shannon

    YES HONEY. This article was ON IT!

  • Celeste

    I don’t think this is a skin color issue. People said the same thing about Tameka when she was married to Usher.

    Women are going to hate. I had friends ask me why certain guys like me because I don’t fit the beauty standard, maybe because I have substance. Women who focus on looks and other superficial needs, are a dime a dozen.

    Man, this reminds me of Maya Angelou poem “Phenomenal Woman”, that’s me and women like Tiny.

    Phenomenal Woman

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I’m telling lies.
    I say,
    It’s in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It’s the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can’t touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can’t see.
    I say,
    It’s in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I’m a woman

    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.
    I don’t shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It’s in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    ‘Cause I’m a woman
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Maya Angelou

  • I’m not fucking with no ugly bitch