On July 12, 2020, famous rapper Megan Thee Stallion was allegedly shot by rapper Tory Lanez after a pool party hosted by Kylie Jenner. Megan initially told the police that she had stepped on glass to protect herself and Lanez from experiencing prejudiced violence from the police. Megan later revealed on an Instagram Live that Lanez had shot her in the foot and she went under surgery to remove the bullet. As of October 31, Lanez was placed under house arrest for violating the conditions of his bail. His trial regarding the shooting is scheduled for November 28.
After the shooting, social media was flooded with jokes and memes about the incident. Even notable celebrities themselves, such as 50 Cent, Draya Michelle and Chrissy Teigen, reposted those jokes and made light of a traumatic moment for Megan. More recently, Drake has been called out for seemingly accusing Megan for lying about the shooting in his song “Circo Loco” in his recent collaborative album with 21 Savage. The lyric states, “This b***h lie ’bout gettin shots but she still a stallion, She don’t even get the joke but she still smilin.’”
At the time, Megan had called out the inappropriateness of the jokes and memes being made about her shooting. However, fans making speculations about Drake’s recent lyrics have erupted another series of rightfully angry tweets by Megan. She believes the lyrics are not about her and is instead more deeply upset by the new outburst of jokes being made again about her shooting.
The responses to the violence Megan experienced reveals the dark reality that Black women have to live in. The violence and threats that they suffer through are dismissed and even joked about.
Megan is not the first Black woman whose violence has become a joke in the media. Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman from Kentucky, was shot in her own home eight times by police officers in a botched raid in 2020. Her death commenced worldwide protests against police brutality alongside protests for many other Black Americans killed in the hands of police. For Taylor, however, the process to charge the police officers for her death was believed to be incredibly overdue.
Alongside the dismissal of her death through the courts was the memeification of Taylor in the media. It started off with a strong online presence of support for Breonna as many notable figures like Oprah Winfrey, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and more were posting and taking actions about the injustice of her death. This message unfortunately later became an insincere and insensitive social media gimmick, as many said “arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” through several forms of memes. Even merch t-shirts that read those memes were created and sold in ‘support’ for the victim.
What Megan continues to repeat on her Twitter is a sentiment that all Black women struggle with and could have also possibly led to the ignorance towards Taylor’s death. Violence and brutality towards Black women are constantly disregarded despite it happening so often. In 2020 alone, the FBI recorded that at least four Black women are murdered everyday in the United States.
Part of this dismissal could be attributed to the stereotypes and attitudes towards Black women. They are often regarded as violent, aggressive and ill-tempered, among other things. This ‘angry Black women’ stereotype has continued to almost masculinize them which thus has made their sufferings in violence either disappear in the media or even be disregarded as a joke.
What happened to Megan and countless other Black women needs to be approached with empathy, support and justice. They should never be met with criticisms, denials and especially not with insensitive jokes. What someone finds funny about a man shooting a Black woman is what will lead to the deaths and abuse of more Black women in the future.
Skylar Paxton is an Opinion Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.