Those invited to BET reality show stars’ Tiny and Toya’s taping/benefit concert Monday night at Opera were treated to the bonus of what is believed to be T.I.’s first public appearance since he was released from prison.
“I am very well, very happy to be seen,” said the Atlanta rapper-actor, who joined his fiancee Tameka “Tiny” Cottle on stage at the end of the “For The Love of Our Fathers” fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research.
T.I. was sentenced to a year and a day behind bars, after pleading guilty to federal weapons charges. In December he was released from an Arkansas federal prison, and is serving the remainder of his reduced sentence in a local correctional center.
Before the T.I. surprise, the audience was treated to brief performances by classic R&B group The Tams (which includes Tiny’s father Charles Pope, and was led by her brother Little Redd); newcomers The OMG Girlz (which includes the daughters of both Tiny and Toya), QT Jazz and Lil Shun and New Nu (from T.I.’s Grand Hustle label); as well as established R&B singers Kandi, Jaheim and Pleasure P.
Spotted in the crowd were rappers Diamond of Crime Mob, Rasheeda, producer Don Vito and label exec/BET host/and Toya’s rumored-to-be new love, MeMpHiTz.
Tiny closed the evening by making what was billed to be her first performance in five years, with fellow former Xscape member Keisha Babi. (Together, they call themselves Ga. Peach).
T.I., on the other hand, wasn’t quite done. When Tiny walked out of the Midtown nightclub, there was a blue Porsche Panamera out front – topped with a red bow brighter than the recipient’s new hair.
“I have to say I’ve had my eye on this for a while,” she conceded, as Kandi and Sister 2 Sister publisher Jamie Foster Brown piled in for a whiff of the new car smell. “I’m so glad to have him home.”