Rapper Megan Thee Stallion is using her platform to normalize and encourage her fans to take care of their mental health.
Over the weekend, she retweeted Shea Jordan, who posted the news that she had created a website with tons of mental health resources – with a focus on resources designated specifically for Black people and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
There have been quite a few Black celebrities who went public with their experience with mental health issues. Back in 2016, Kid Cudi revealed he checked himself into rehab after experiencing depression and suicidal urges. This prompted the hashtag #YouGoodMan on Twitter, encouraging Black men to open up about their experiences with mental illness.
In 2018, Janet Jackson spoke to Essence about the feelings of depression and inadequacy that she says have been a part of her life since childhood.
Since then though, and particularly after 2020, we’ve seen dames like Michelle Obama, Jenifer Lewis - who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder - and Jada Pinkett-Smith open up about their struggles. While all these stars have done great work to advance the conversation around mental health – there’s still a void for young, Black women who need to hear this from idols like Meg.
At her core, Meg is a bad bitch. We know this. She’s a bit of a departure from the types of celebrities we’ve seen speak up about mental health in the past. I guess what I’m trying to say is - when have we had this much of a bad bitch centre themselves in the discourse surrounding mental health? I mean, she’s not a star that holds back. She is who she is, she wears what she wears, she shakes her ass, she raps about sex and female pleasure and her story of comeuppance resonates with so many young Black women who don’t often see, hear or feel like their stories are reflected or validated in mainstream music.
In 2021, she sat down with Taraji P. Henson for an episode of the star’s Peace of Mind Facebook Watch show and opened up about her struggles. During the episode, she pulled the curtain back on the impact of losing both of her parents and her grandmother.
"I've always seen everybody in my life be independent," she recalled. "My daddy passed away when I was 15, so my mama was still going hard taking care of us. If we were going through money problems, my mother and my two [maternal] grandmothers always made sure I didn't know. We could've been struggling, but they made it work. I've always seen strong women making it work, so I've always wanted to have that same drive the women in my family have. I know I get a lot of my strength from my mother and both of my grandmothers."
Her fans that have been with her since the early days knew the relationship she had with her mom. They really rallied around her – sending love on social media and encouraging her to take care of herself as she processed that grief in March of 2019. So when she lost her grandmother shortly after, they continued to support her, ramping up their praise and encouragement.
Death isn’t the only thing that’s been hard on Megan. She’s experienced quite the rollercoaster on her journey with fame. From an arrest back in 2015, to a very public legal battle with record label 1501 Certified Entertainment, to the notorious incident in which she alleges rapper Tory Lanez shot her, she’s had a lot of low moments and has maintained transparency with her fans. It’s just one of the things that makes her the perfect person to present this new web of resources to the public.
"As a Black person, and when you think of therapy you think of 'Oh my gosh, I'm weak,' you think of medication, and you just think the worst," Megan said to Taraji last year. "That's kind of what you see on TV too; like, therapy wasn't even presented in the media as something that was good. Now it's becoming safe to say, 'Alright now, there's a little too much going on. Somebody help me.' "
This sentiment, coupled with her revealing just how hard her mom and grandmothers worked to make sure the kids never knew what was going on financially behind the scenes is something a lot of people in immigrant and marginalized communities can relate to. It’s one thing to have the former First Lady telling you to make sure you meditate and make time to journal – but the message can fall on deaf ears who don’t feel like the messenger understands the struggle and the inherent privilege required to even prioritize your mental health. When Meg says it, and especially with where she’s coming from, it resonates for a lot more people.
She named the site “Bad Bitches Have Bad Days Too,” which is also a line from a song she wrote called Anxiety. In an interview with Apple Music, she describes being inspired to write the song as she processed the feelings that came after her mom’s death.
“‘Anxiety’ is not even a song that I felt like I wanted to write for other people,” she said. “Like, I wrote it for me, to me. Kind of, like, to my mom a little bit. And it was rough. But I mean, I got through it and I just felt like, ‘Okay, like, I got that off my chest.’”
Not only is Meg promoting mental health, but she’s promoting peace and positivity, which in the rap industry, hasn’t always been the case. With a long history of rap battles, which yes, is an art form, but one that can turn ugly, sneak disses and a dog-eat-dog mentality, she is urging people to reimagine what the rap scene can look like – especially for female rappers.
In 2019, when rumours swirled that Cardi B was taking a jab at Meg, she put an immediate stop to the online chatter, tweeting, “If you’re a real hottie, please spread positivity 💙 we real around here and we fw everybody that fw us. No dry hating no dry beef 🔥.”
She’s changing stan culture. By showing up fully, as a multi-faceted and non-monolithic woman, she is fostering and encouraging a new generation of love, acceptance and peace–prioritizing fans and putting the importance of mental health on the radar for people who might just need it the most.
Attached - Meg performing at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Saturday night.