T.I. released from prison, set for VH1 reality show
The rapper-actor, born Clifford Harris, was released from a federal prison in Forrest City, Ark., early Wednesday and will be taken to a halfway house in Georgia to serve the remainder of his sentence for violating probation. Harris was originally set to be released at the end of September.
“Feels great to be back where I belong...Back in the arms of those who need me the most,” the rapper tweeted upon his release. “The storm is over & da sun back out. IT'S OUR TIME TO SHINE SHAWTY!!!!! Welcome to the beginning of our Happy Ending!!!!”
T.I. was sentenced in October 2010 to 11 months in prison for violating his probation on federal weapons charges. The rapper and his wife, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were arrested a year ago on suspicion of drug possession after a traffic stop on the Sunset Strip. With T.I. facing a federal probation violation, local prosecutors did not pursue charges against him. Charges against Tiny were also dropped after she completed 24 sessions in a drug-diversion program.
Meanwhile, T.I. has inked a deal with VH1 for a new reality show that will follow him as he "re-adjusts to life as a free man" after the incarceration, the network announced Wednesday.
The 10 episodes of the as-yet-untitled series, premiering Dec. 5, will offer a glimpse into his family life and see him in the studio as he preps the follow-up to 2010’s “No Mercy," all while trying to abide by a new set of restrictions and obstacles due to his probation terms.
“Viewers have always connected with T.I. and we are definitely thrilled to show the next chapter of this incredible artist’s riveting life with this new series,” Jeff Olde, executive vice president of original programming and production for the network, said in a statement. “T.I. is such a multi-talented artist and actor, and though he has had some setbacks, there is no doubt he will use his considerable talents to get back on top of both the music and film business.”
Harris previously teamed with MTV in 2009 for “T.I.'s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go,” where he took a “scared straight” approach to help at-risk youth before he headed behind bars.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: T.I. at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills in 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times