Charges Against Wayna Dismissed; T.I. Off To Jail
It's good news today for two performers, even if one of them is going to jail. Don't look so confused; we'll explain in just a bit. But first we have to congratulate Grammy-nominated R&B singer Wayna, who got picked up last year at Bush Intercontinental Airport right here in Houston for carrying a weapon. It's not as bad as it sounds; she accidentally stowed a collapsible police baton she uses in her stage act with her take-on luggage, and was arrested despite attempts to explain her status as a performing artist.The baton in question makes an appearance at a live performance of "Billie Club", a song about police brutality.
From what Rocks Off can see, Wayna is guilty of nothing more than forgetfulness, and mistakenly calling an ASP baton a "billie club". District Judge Jeannine Barr apparently agreed, dismissing the charges against her today at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
In other Grammy-beloved performer* news, T.I. (real name Clifford Harris) was sentenced to a year and a day in jail for buying a bunch of unregistered machine guns and silencers four hours before the 2007 BET Hip Hop awards. If that sounds like an oddly Chaucer-esque sentence, it's no mistake. It's actually a blessing, since with a sentence of one year, T.I. could not get out of jail any earlier for good behavior. By tacking on that extra day, Judge Charles Parnell Jr. ensures that an early leave for good behavior is possible. (See? We told you it was good news.) Acknowledging the experimental nature of the sentencing, Judge Parnell Jr. said "I hope this sentencing leads to other experiments that will protect the community and show a respect for the law."
Why the special treatment? According the judge, T.I. has more than exceeded the court's expectations regarding his reformation of character. T.I. has helped with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, worked with at-risk youth at Paulding Detention Center in Atlanta, GA, provided scholarships for single-parent families, spoken at a number of middle schools and high schools, and even hosted a giveaway of 200 bicycles to neighborhood children through his nightclub, Club Crucial. He even gave a rather moving speech about HIV and AIDS awareness on Easter Sunday last year at Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Church. So it would be really difficult to accuse him of insincerity, even if he did talk all that shit about Li'l Flip (to be fair, the two have since squashed the feud).
Although he will still be subject to strict stipulations even after his release from prison (drug counseling, random property searches, DNA testing, an audit of his finances, and continued restrictions on his movements), T.I. seems optimistic and grateful, addressing the court like so: "This has been the most insightful moment in my life. I've taken the great lesson from it and I will use it in my life."
Is there any other kind of angle on this, some kind of way to somehow take advantage of all these troubles and worries? Gosh, we dunno... maybe they'll mention something on "T.I.'s Road to Redemption: The Reckoning," which airs next Tuesday on MTV.
* Wayna was only nominated, while T.I. was nominated for several Grammys and actually won Best Collaboration for "My Love" with Justin Timberlake.