T.I. Celebrates His Freedom With Posh Hotel Brunch
On Sunday (Oct. 2), industry tastemakers and hip-hop artists alike gathered at Atlanta's chic Mansion at Buckhead hotel to have brunch with Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., who was celebrating his freedom following an 11-month prison stay. The event was spearheaded by Grand Hustle Records and the rapper's own AKOO clothing line.
"The brand just wanted to celebrate the fact that he's back, and to let him know that not just us, but all of these people here hope that he stays free," Ralph Reynolds, co-partner in AKOO, told The BoomBox.
Upon entry, guests were greeted with mimosas and hors d'eourves and invited to mingle and enjoy the atmosphere. The exquisite décor of the Mansion was the perfect setting for a self-proclaimed king to meet with friends and family.
Notable guests streamed into the foyer just outside of the dining room, and everyone from Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, to rapper Nelly and record exec Kevin Liles stopped by to show their support.
"He's a good, young man," shared rapper Heavy D. "I know he's made some mistakes, but he's a good guy at heart. Sometimes people make mistakes and need chances, sometimes more than two. He's doing big things, he's growing, he's maturing... Everyone here has a smile on their face, so it feels good."
Several times during the afternoon, T.I. could be seen striding through the hotel, checking on guests and double-checking on family, ensuring the comfort of everyone. He approached a friend at one point and asked, "Where's my mama? You gotta find my mama, man." Unbeknownst to him, his mother was seated behind a wall a few feet away, surrounded by a group of doting women, talking about how much she loves her son.
Once everyone milled into the dining room, Tip took a moment to show his gratitude.
"I appreciate y'all for keeping me in your prayers and keeping me positive in times when I could've felt otherwise," he said.
Before the mood became too solemn, he joked, "Thank you for supporting all of our products, from Grand Hustle to AKOO. Thank you for coming to all our parties and seeing our movies, buying our records and coming to our concerts and sending our kids through college. We surely appreciate that."
The room erupted in laughter as he continued, "A lot of you have known me since I was less than 'T.I.-ish' -- I have gradually grown into the man you see before you today, and I will gradually grow into someone flyer, fresher and richer tomorrow."
"I have you all to thank for that," he said with a grin.
Guests were able to view some of the newest items in the AKOO collection, and each person received a copy of T.I.'s new novel, 'Power & Beauty,' as a thank-you gift.
"Today is beautiful," comedian Lil Duval told TheBoomBox. "It's high-class -- a lot of low-income mugs in here, but it's nice having everybody get together for my man. It's his first official [event] where everybody can get together, mingle, have a good time and eat. I'm eating for free, so I would've been here anyway!"