Texas based rapper Megan Thee Stallion has become one of the defining artists of her generation. An artist with a multifaceted resume and a commitment to black feminism in which she centers the desires, experiences, and wishes for black women and girls without apologies. Her unique blend of rap, soul, and pop plus her fierce uncompromising desire to stay true to herself has made her a legend at the age of 27. She is furthering a tradition often forgotten in hip hop and that is of female MCs that can rock the mic and hold their own.
She is beloved in many circles but unfortunately she has become a target for hate, mockery, and at times abuse even within hip hop. By now most know about July 2020 when artist Tory Lanez, allegedly shot at her after leaving a Hollywood party hosted by Kylie Jenner. According to reports, they had an argument as they were leaving the party and after Megan got out of the car, he then shot her at her feet. He has been charged with assault with a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. He also received an order to stay at least 100 yards away from Megan. Lanez has denied the charges and the trial is set to begin sometime soon.
Since then, Megan has been the subject of vicious ridicule from fellow artists and on social media claiming that she is lying about the incident. Most notably Drake, one of the most transcending artists of this era, recently put out a song entitled “Circo Loco” ft. 21 Savage of his latest album Her Loss in which appears to mock Megan. The song makes reference to a woman that ‘lie bout getting shots, but she still a stallion”. This immediately set off a firestorm on social media including Megan who tweeted “since when it is cool to joke about women getting shot?”
Other artists including DaBaby, brought out Lanez on stage at the Rolling Out Loud Festival, even after he collaborated with Megan on her song “Cry Baby”.
Big names within hip hop seem to piling on Megan and saying she is fabricating her being shot. It seems as if she is all along, but at least one group led by prominent black women is standing up for her when she needs it the most. The Southern Black Girls and Women Consortium, an organization committed to preserving the rights and dignity of black women and girls in the United States released an open letter on November 11 in support of Megan.
In part it read:
It must be said that our culture has failed you, one of its most brightly shining daughters. In July of 2020, you experienced a violation of the highest order at the hands of someone whom you considered a friend. Since then, you’ve had to endure public harassment and taunting not only from that person but from others choosing to stand with him. Bloggers have circulated rumors and excitedly reported on the most traumatic experience of your life as if it were juicy gossip, often perpetuating the idea that you’ve got a reason to lie, that you shouldn’t be believed. You’ve consistently been clear about what happened to you, but instead of being met with widespread support, people who should have had your back have chosen to stay out of the matter.
Violence against women is still entirely too common and acceptable in our world. We make excuse after excuse to explain away even the most heinous acts, especially when the person accused is a celebrity of any sort. Being a celebrity, however, will not guarantee a woman any sympathy when she is a victim.
Black women are also often fearful of what will happen to their assailant if they choose to involve the law–as you yourself were afraid to do–and are left unprotected by the system and the community alike. If someone as influential as you can be belittled and mocked as nothing but a liar for standing up for herself, that speaks a volume about what a woman who doesn’t have your resources or fame can expect to endure when she’s found herself in a similar position.
We salute you for the bravery it has taken to defend yourself in the court of public opinion, though you shouldn’t have had to do so at all. We raise our voices against those who have made light of this heinous example of violence against women and will drown them out with our demands for society to take what happens to Black women seriously. You are not alone. You are believed, loved, and supported.
We stand with you Megan.
Among the signees were Tarana Burke (#MeToo Founder), Latosha Brown (Black Voters Matter), Taylor Crumpton (Cultural Critic and Journalist), Angela Ferrell-Zabala (Everytown for Gun Safety), Alexis McGill Johnson (Planned Parenthood Federation of America), Tamika D. Mallory (Women’s March), Angela Rye (IMPACT Strategies), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D‑CA), and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D‑TX).
A notable male ally to sign was Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University Professor/Journalist.
There doesn’t need to be a trial to see the clear case of misogynoir that is being rendered against Megan. Misogynoir, a term coined by scholar Dr. Moya Bailey, is defined as “how sexism and racism manifest in black women’s lives to create intersecting forms of oppression”. In other words it speaks to how society as a whole devalues and degrades the lives of experiences of black women and girls.
A 2019 study from Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality found that black girls experience high levels of “adultification bias” compared to their white peers. Simply put, black girls are seen as older than are and not as innocent, therefore are not see as worthy of protection.
Also black women and girls are highly sexualized, vilified, and seen as not “womanly” in the eyes of society. In 2019, the ACLU released a report that that black women of all sexualities and identities have largely been failed by the legal system when it comes to experiencing gender based violence and accessing proper resources and support. https://www.aclu.org/news/racial-justice/legal-system-has-failed-black-girls-women-and-non.
The 50th anniversary of hip hop is next August, a milestone that is one worth celebrating. But that should also be a time for hip hop to take a hard look and see where it is when it comes to the treatment of women and especially black women whom since the days of Queen Latifah, Moni Love, MC Lyte, and Salt N Pepa have been carrying the culture on their shoulders. Megan Thee Stallion should be given the proper love and support from the community as Takeoff was deservingly so after he was recently killed.
Failure to do so is a failure to hip hop.
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