Megan Thee Stallion is calling out a culture that still disregards and disrespects Black women — despite rallying cries for racial justice and equality.
In a poignant New York Times op-ed published Tuesday, the “Savage” rapper addresses the presidential campaign, sexism, police brutality and the indifference she has recently received after being violently assaulted. She also touches on her appearance on “Saturday Night Live” earlier this month in which she protested the decision not to indict officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death and spoke out in support of Black women.
“I’m not afraid of criticism,” the 25-year-old hip-hop star writes in the Times. “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.”
Megan Thee Stallion begins her piece by pointing out the strange dichotomy Black women currently feel in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
“Black women are expected once again to deliver victory for Democratic candidates,” she writes. “We have gone from being unable to vote legally to a highly courted voting bloc — all in little more than a century. Despite this and despite the way so many have embraced messages about racial justice this year, Black women are still constantly disrespected and disregarded in so many areas of life.”
She lays out examples of this by pulling from her own life, touching on the violence she recently experienced and the irrelevance she received. In July, the “WAP” rapper was wounded after Canadian rapper Tory Lanez shot her in the feet several times after she exited his vehicle. Last week, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Lanez (real name Daystar Peterson) with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle.
In response to the news, many — including model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen — made light of the situation by cracking jokes at Megan Thee Stallion’s expense online. Draya Michele, a reality TV personality and ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line, speculated on a podcast that Megan Thee Stallion and Lanez were engaged in a “Bobby and Whitney love,” saying “I want you to love me so much you shoot me in the foot,” per Vulture. Lanez even dropped an album denying Megan Thee Stallion’s claims.
In her New York Times piece, Megan Thee Stallion writes that she was shocked and traumatized by the assault, and waited a little over a month before confirming that she was shot by Lanez on Instagram Live because she feared she would be “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,” she writes.
Megan Thee Stallion also denies being in a relationship with Lanez and is critical of those who jumped to that conclusion, writing that “violence against women is not always connected to being in a relationship.”
“Instead, 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 adds that this female experience is intensified 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,” she wrote, noting earlier in the piece that she feels Black women are “entitled” to be angry due to a “laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.”
And although Megan Thee Stallion hopes to one day live in a world in which Black women are as respected and supported as their white and male counterparts, she also believes “that will take time.”
She then circles back to the election and the role Black women are expected to play in it.
“Black women are not naïve,” she concludes. “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.”
To read Megan Thee Stallion’s entire opinion article, head over to The New York Times.