When Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the foot in Los Angeles about a month ago, both she and the authorities said little about what happened. However, in an Instagram Live session, she revealed that rapper Tory Lanez was in fact the person who shot her. She says, “Yes, this n**** Tory shot me. You shot me, and you got your publicist and your people to [talk to] to these blogs, lying and shit. Stop lying!”
Representatives for Lanez have not responded to any requests for comment. He was arrested that same morning on suspicion of possession of a concealed weapon, but was later released on bail. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office is still considering filing charges against Lanez for the assault, telling Billboard that they requested law enforcement to provide further investigation.
In the weeks following the shooting, Megan Thee Stallion was mocked and turned into a meme over social media. For example, media personality Draya Michele commented, “I predict that they had some sort of Bobby and Whitney love that drove them down the road,” referring to Meg and Tory Lanez. “I’m here for it. I like that. I want you to like me so much you shoot me in the foot too.”
Meg responded on Twitter by noting the rampant misogynoir imbued within Michele’s statement and the countless other individuals who made light of the situation. On July 17, she tweeted, “It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.”
Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own. It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) July 17, 2020
Black feminist Moya Bailey coined the term “misogynoir” in 2010 to refer to specific intersection of anti-blackness and sexism that Black women and femmes face. It’s a term that harkens back to Alice Walker’s “womanism” and Frances Beale’s “double jeopardy” which capture the unique subject position of Black women.
Misogynoir reduces Black women to sexualized stereotypes and arbiters of strength and courage, which is why so many people have denounced her pain and defended Lanez. It’s why people called Meg “strong” when she spoke vulnerably about her injuries on Instagram Live, holding back tears as she said, “I didn’t put hands on nobody. I didn’t deserve to get shot.”
In a Harper’s Bazaar story about Megan Thee Stallion and misogynoir, Taylor Crumpton writes, “Who hears a Black woman’s cries of fear and pain if their personhood is stripped away? If Black women are no longer regarded as human, then their bodies are deemed deserving of disproportionate amounts of pain.” Because Megan Thee Stallion has been dehumanized, she becomes subject to pain, mocking, and ridicule within our white supremacist patriarchal culture.
On Twitter, Ericka Hart notes how people refusing to believe Meg’s story connects to the murder of Black trans femmes, high maternal mortality rates among Black women, and the death of Breonna Taylor.
The belief that Black femmes do NOT feel pain is embedded in our culture causing more physical/spiritual/ emotional stress on our bodies— Ericka Hart (She/ They) (@iHartEricka) August 21, 2020
What may seem like just another joke is actually part of a system that has incarcerated and murdered Black femmes at disproportionate rates for hundreds of years. And, despite facing ridicule and disrespect, Megan Thee Stallion chose to keep quiet about Tory Lanez for so long in order to protect him. In her latest Instagram Live session, she said, “I didn’t tell the police nothing because I didn’t want us to get in no more trouble,” to which Lanez and his team responded by villainizing her. Jokes and microaggressions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to oppression, and we have to hold ourselves and others accountable when we witness them.
Header image: screenshot via YouTube
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Grace Weinberg (she/they) is a senior at Simmons University pursuing BAs in English, Women's & Gender Studies, and Spanish in addition to interning at BUST. When she's not reading in bed with her french bulldog, you can find her rollerskating or watching the next feminist horror flick. Follow her on Twitter at @GraceWeinberg6.