Megan Thee Stallion Says Calls to Protect Black Women Shouldn’t Be Controversial

Megan Thee Stallion continues to stand up for Black women, showing her support in a moving op-ed for The New York Times. Her piece comes days after her Saturday Night Live performance, during which she called to “protect Black women” onstage and criticized Daniel Cameron, the attorney general of Kentucky, for his handling of the Breonna Taylor case.

“I anticipated some backlash,” Megan wrote of the performance. “Anyone who follows the lead of Congressman John Lewis, the late civil rights giant, and makes ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’ runs the risk of being attacked by those comfortable with the status quo.

“But you know what? I’m not afraid of criticism. We live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize elected officials. And it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.”

Megan and her supporters especially amplified calls to protect Black women over the summer after she was shot in the foot by rapper Tory Lanez, and then was ridiculed, doubted, and victim-blamed online. “I was recently the victim of an act of violence by a man,” she wrote, not mentioning Lanez by name. “After a party, I was shot twice as I walked away from him.”

She first stayed silent about the shooting after it happened “out of fear for myself and my friends,” she explained. “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.”

But after some reflection, Megan realized that those kinds of responses are rooted in misogyny, and that “it happens because too many men treat all women as objects, which helps them to justify inflicting abuse against us when we choose to exercise our own free will.”

She later added, “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.”

Megan listed the dangers Black women face on a daily basis, from racism in health care, which results in a higher maternal mortality rate for Black mothers, to violence in policing, as 91 percent of trans and gender-non conforming people killed by police last year were Black. She also pointed out the judgments Black women receive for what they wear and how they express their sexuality, which the rapper has experienced herself.

“I choose my own clothing,” Megan wrote. “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.”

When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected.

She also called out the ways women are pitted against each other, especially in the hip-hop industry, “where it seems as if the male-dominated ecosystem can handle only one female rapper at a time.” Recalling the ways she’s been compared to fellow rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, she declared, “I’m not ‘the new’ anyone; we are all unique in our own ways.”

Megan’s hope with this year’s election and Senator Kamala Harris’s historic candidacy for vice president is that it ushers in “an era where Black women in 2020 are no longer ‘making history’ for achieving things that should have been accomplished decades ago.”

She concluded, “But that will take time, and 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.”

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