Megan Thee Stallion Isn’t The One On Trial

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images.
“I wish he would have just killed me, if I knew I would have to go through this torture,” rapper Megan Thee Stallion said last week during an emotional early testimony in Tory Lanezshooting trial
As heartbreaking as her words are, the sentiment behind them is the direct result of a two-year campaign of denial, gaslighting, mudslinging and harassment against Megan that’s reached its crescendo with this trial. 
Last week, the court heard that Megan has struggled with her mental health since the shooting. She testified that she still can’t really feel the left side of her foot despite months of physical therapy and that she feels there’s a “big boys club” within hip-hop that is punishing her for snitching on one of their friends. “[It’s] like I’m telling on one of y’all’s friends, and now you about to hate me,” she said in court.
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With everything that Megan has already experienced, it's been both infuriating and triggering to watch people on social media treat her like the villain, when she’s the one who was harmed.

With everything that Megan has already experienced, it's been both infuriating and triggering to watch people on social media treat her like the villain, when she’s the one who was harmed.

Over the weekend, 50 Cent posted a meme likening Megan to Jussie Smollet, who was notoriously found guilty of lying to police that he’d been the victim of a racist, homophobic attack in 2019. At the same time, disgraced podcast host and former rapper Joe Budden made a point to mention in a recent episode of his show that he doesn’t like Megan, before posting a cryptic tweet suggesting that she’s lying.
Most frustratingly, Megan’s sexuality has been put under a microscope, with gossip blogs all of a sudden linking her to a slew of male celebrities. First of all, this means nothing. Megan is an adult woman who can sleep with whoever she pleases. But aside from the fact that her intimate life has no bearing on the case, this kind of slutshaming is particularly dangerous because it rests on the implicit notion that when it comes to violence, it’s open season for any woman who likes to have sex. 
Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.
Megan Thee Stallion whose legal name is Megan Pete makes her way from the Hall of Justice to the courthouse to testify in the trial of Rapper Tory Lanez for allegedly shooting her on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.
Vilifying women (or in this case suggesting that they deserve to be shot) on the basis of their sexual history is something we see time and time again because it’s an easy a way to cast doubt on their moral character and believability. And for Black women in particular, the consequences of stepping out of society’s faux puritanism are always much harsher. From being thought of as a “ho,” “ran through,” or “for everybody,” the vitriolic language and culture around sexual promiscuity is solely reserved for Black women. 
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What’s worse, so much of this misogynoir toward Megan is coming from her own community — the same community that adored her when her lyrics, music videos, and online persona helped spark new conversation about the sexual politics of Black womanhood. 
Sadly, the male-dominated hip-hop world that Meg is a part of is full of these twisted contradictions — like simultaneously loving women who love sex while resenting them at the same time; or enjoying the fantasy of Meg as a sexual being while weaponizing that freedom against her when it’s convenient.
At first, it was confusing to me that people are choosing not to believe Megan and instead take the side of Lanez, a person who has a history of alleged domestic abuse (Lanez has denied past abuse allegations). The court also heard audio from an interview in which Megan’s former friend Kelsey Harris told prosecutors she saw Lanez shoot at Megan five times, and that he later tried to bribe her into keeping quiet.
But the reality of Megan's situation is that the support Lanez has received in this moment says less about him, his character, or even any belief that he may not have done it. It’s about enabling the mechanisms that allow for violence against Black women. 

[Black women] know that we are at risk and right now, we’re watching the world confirm that we won’t be protected when we face those risks. This trial and its discourse only reinforces the silence around violence against Black women.

If Black women know that they will be the ones mocked and put on trial when they are harmed, then no one will speak up and the cone of silence around abuse in the community continues to thrive. And most frighteningly, the status quo that protects men is preserved. 
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When Megan talks about being antagonized by a “big boys club” looking to protect their own, she’s right on the money. It’s not lost on me, for example, that many of the fellow rappers who are calling her a liar have a history of violence against women. Budden in particular has been accused by several of his exes of domestic violence going back at least a decade and had to apologize to podcast host Olivia Dope last year after she alleged that he had sexually harassed her. 
Megan is a woman with money, fame, access and she’s arguably one of the most beloved figures in rap right now. If she can be treated like this, it’s not hard to imagine what regular Black women who are exposed to violence every day are dealing with. 
Statistics have shown that Black and Indigenous women experience the highest rates of homicide of any other demographic, with over half of those deaths being related to intimate partner violence. And, compared to all other racial groups, Black women are most  likely to be killed by a firearm.
Those horrifying stats are why this moment is so important for Black women. We know that we are at risk and right now, we’re watching the world confirm that we won’t be protected when we face those risks. This trial and its discourse not only reinforces the silence around violence against Black women, but also creates a world of trauma for many of us who see ourselves in Megan. 

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