In a New York Times open letter entitled “Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black. Women,” Megan Thee Stallion shares details about her tragic night with Tory Lanez and how the negative reactions to her shooting perfectly display the long-standing dismissal of Black women’s pain.
She raps, she sings, she’s educated and she’s always looking out for her fellow Hotties, with her slew of programs dedicated to funding the education of women who are pursuing higher learning. There’s not much that can stop the Houston native, but that doesn’t mean she’s immortal or invulnerable to being hurt; that is how she was treated, however, when she told the world that she was shot by Lanez, 28.
“I was recently the victim of an act of violence by a man. After a party, I was shot twice as I walked away from him. We were not in a relationship. Truthfully, I was shocked that I ended up in that place,” penned Megan. She continued: “My initial silence about what happened was out of fear for myself and my friends. Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment. The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”
Like, Megan, all Black women are affected not just by racism but by sexism as well, which oftentimes is projected onto us by Black men, too. “The issue is even more intense for Black women, who struggle against stereotypes and are seen as angry or threatening when we try to stand up for ourselves and our sisters. There’s not much room for passionate advocacy if you are a Black woman,” wrote Megan.
The rapper went on to explain that the brutality and mistreatment of Black women have been happening for years in several areas including the medical field and in the everyday workplace. “Maternal mortality rates for Black mothers are about three times higher than those for white mothers, an obvious sign of racial bias in health care. In 2019, an astronomical 91 percent of the transgender or gender-nonconforming people who were fatally shot were Black, according to the Human Rights Campaign,” said Megan.
“Beyond threats to our health and lives, we confront so much judgment and so many conflicting messages on a daily basis. If we dress in fitted clothing, our curves become a topic of conversation not only on social media but also in the workplace. The fact that Serena Williams, the greatest athlete in any sport ever, had to defend herself for wearing a bodysuit at the 2018 French Open is proof positive of how misguided the obsession with Black women’s bodies is,” Megan continued.
She also touches on the importance of minding your own business when it comes to a woman’s body. She says she celebrates her body and sexuality for her, not a man. “I choose my own clothing. Let me repeat: I choose what I wear, not because I am trying to appeal to men, but because I am showing pride in my appearance, and a positive body image is central to who I am as a woman and a performer. I value compliments from women far more than from men. But the remarks about how I choose to present myself have often been judgmental and cruel, with many assuming that I’m dressing and performing for the male gaze. When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected.”
The rapper even opened up about the constant pinning of women against one another in the music industry, specifically within Hip Hop. “In every industry, women are pitted against one another, but especially in hip-hop, where it seems as if the male-dominated ecosystem can handle only one female rapper at a time. Countless times, people have tried to pit me against Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, two incredible entertainers and strong women. I’m not “the new” anyone; we are all unique in our own ways.”
Megan adds that it would be refreshing to see young Black girls being taught about the impactful and influential history of Black women. “Wouldn’t it be nice if Black girls weren’t inundated with negative, sexist comments about Black women? If they were told instead of the many important things that we’ve achieved? It took a major motion picture, “Hidden Figures,” to introduce the world to the NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson. I wish I’d learned in school about this story as well as more earthly achievements: that Alice H. Parker filed the patent for the first home furnace, or that Marie Van Brittan Brown created the first home security system.
“Or that Black women, too often in the shadows of such accomplishments, actually powered the civil rights movement. It’s important to note that six of the Little Rock Nine students whose bravery in 1957 led to school integration were Black girls. And that Rosa Parks showed incredible bravery when she refused to move to the “colored section.” I wish that every little Black girl was taught that Black Lives Matter was co-founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.”
The rapper concludes her article saying that Black women will once again save lives at the polls; adding that Black women are not ignorant of our circumstances, but that we are simply aware of the realities in which we live. “…Black women are not naïve. We know that after the last ballot is cast and the vote is tallied, we are likely to go back to fighting for ourselves. Because at least for now, that’s all we have.”