Megan Thee Stallion's shooting shows the world still doesn't care about Black women | Tayo Bero

Shortly after the rapper was shot, people cracked jokes or simply ignored the attack. When will Black women get the respect we deserve?

It has been an exhausting year for Black women. From the murders of Breonna Taylor and activist Toyin Salau to the killings of Black transgender women, we have had to watch the world fail us over and over again, and in real time. And now, it’s happening again with rapper Megan Thee Stallion. In early July, the Houston artist was reportedly shot in the foot following an argument with rapper Tory Lanez. Lanez was arrested that same night on a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and was later released on bond.

Meg – whose real name is Megan Pete – later wrote on her Instagram page that she had “suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against [her]” and was done with the intention to harm her. And although many of the facts of the case remain unclear, one thing is for sure; Meg hasn’t gotten the care, respect or empathy she deserves from the media or the public.

Shortly after the incident, social media users immediately began making jokes, and speculation flew about what probably transpired between the two. Despite support from some users – mostly Black women – who stood up in her defence, the episode has been largely ridiculed or simply ignored. Not only has there been little media coverage of the shooting itself, even a few public figures joined in the pile-on with crude remarks and harmful transphobic jokes.

There is a painfully obvious lack of care when we talk about violence that is perpetrated against Black women; almost like society is unable to reconcile the gravity of the violence with the humanity of its victim. Much has been made of the fact that the killers of Breonna still have not been arrested, that it took the murder of George Floyd to ignite the worldwide protests we’re seeing now even though Taylor had been killed months earlier, and that even as we speak, calls for justice for her have turned into a meme in themselves. And while all Black life remains under constant threat of state and other forms of violence, it’s clear that there is a gaping hole when it comes to consideration, accountability and retribution for Black women in particular.

In this case, Meg is also confident, successful and breaking boundaries in a male-dominated field – the kind of woman society typically doesn’t afford room for pain, vulnerability or even basic humanity. People look at an incident like this and balk at the idea that she would need or deserve the kind of concern that would be readily offered up for anyone else in her situation. And, the public indignity of watching her trauma be dissected, trivialized and turned into fodder for memes, is something she has to grapple with as well. “Black women are so unprotected,” she wrote on Twitter just days after the incident. “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.”

It’s also not lost on me that most of the voices who have spoken up for Meg in the last few weeks are other Black women. It is us, who once again find ourselves backed into the lonely corner of simultaneously navigating a society that does not feel the need to protect us, and having to show up as advocates for others in moments like these.

I don’t know what the solution is, or what it’s going to take for the world to give Black women the respect they deserve, but it has to happen. We can’t say Black Lives Matter when Black women still exist on the margins of even that very idea. Black women remain at the vanguard of our struggles for liberation, and deserve to be fought for and protected in the same way.

  • Tayo Bero is a freelance journalist


Tayo Bero

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The WAP uproar shows conservatives are fine with female sexuality – as long as men control it | Arwa Mahdawi
The same conservatives who dismiss Trump’s ‘pussy-grabbing’ comments want women to think that it’s immoral to enjoy themselves

Arwa Mahdawi

15, Aug, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
Tory Lanez denies shooting Megan Thee Stallion in new album lyrics
Alleged altercation between star rappers ended with Lanez being arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

25, Sep, 2020 @10:14 AM

Article image
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's WAP should be celebrated, not scolded | Dream McClinton
The hit collaboration between the two rappers has become a belated song of the summer, empowering women and enraging prudes along the way

Dream McClinton

12, Aug, 2020 @6:40 PM

Article image
Let’s talk about sex: how Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP sent the world into overdrive
A cultural ‘cancer’, soft porn … or the height of empowerment? A revealing documentary examines the debates around one of the raunchiest – and most talked about – rap records around

Danielle Koku

25, Nov, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Detective in alleged Megan Thee Stallion shooting accused of domestic violence
LAPD officer was set to be important witness in trial of Tory Lanez, who is accused of shooting the fellow rapper two years ago

Abené Clayton in Los Angeles

09, Dec, 2022 @2:14 AM

Article image
Tory Lanez verdict ends two-year saga for Megan Thee Stallion after shooting
Felonies facing rapper Tory Lanez include assault with a semiautomatic weapon and could lead to up to 22 years in prison

Abené Clayton and agencies

27, Dec, 2022 @9:43 PM

Article image
‘Going through torture’: Megan Thee Stallion testifies against Tory Lanez
Rapper takes stand in case against Canadian-born musician, emotionally recounting night when she was shot

Abené Clayton in Los Angeles

14, Dec, 2022 @2:42 AM

Article image
'It's the way she owns her body': how Megan Thee Stallion rode to Grammys glory
Last week’s triple triumph capped the glorious rise of a rapper who has inspired a generation of women with her confidence and sublime talent

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

19, Mar, 2021 @4:00 PM

Article image
'We do what we want, for ourselves': why it's a golden age for women in rap
Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Doja Cat and tens of other female rappers are breaking through by embracing sisterhood and shaking off the prejudices of the past

Tara Joshi

08, May, 2020 @5:00 AM

Article image
Why Black progressive women feel torn about Kamala Harris | Derecka Purnell
We know we will have to defend Harris’s personal identity, while maneuvering against her political one, says Guardian US columnist Derecka Purnell

Derecka Purnell

12, Aug, 2020 @8:31 AM