It’s been a few weeks since Tory Lanez was found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion back in July of 2020. And though we’ve yet to hear from Meg, the hip-hop community sure is talking. But not loud enough for Soulja Boy’s liking.
He recently went on a tirade on an Instagram live video, slamming the rap and hip-hop community for not believing or defending Meg over the last two years. He called out Tory Lanez directly, calling him a bitch for shooting a woman, and saying that he’s in big trouble when he gets out – which could be about 20 years from now, based on the time he’s facing in his upcoming sentencing.
I’m in a bit of disbelief that Soulja Boy has taken more of a stand than rappers like Drake, who was widely criticized for a lyric in a song featuring 21 Savage that some interpreted as accusing Megan of lying about the incident, which a Drake associate has denied. But at this point, it's less about who the support is coming from and more about the fact that it’s coming at all.
It’s not to say that Meg had no supporters in the industry. Rap OG Bun B posted a video coming to Meg’s defence, citing the loss of her support system as a reason to be receiving more support than she was getting from the rap and hip-hop community. Musicians Jojo and Kehlani both removed Tory Lanez from songs to stand in solidarity with her. Cardi B was incredibly vocal in her support of her “WAP” counterpart. And one of my favourite Meg supporters is a musician named Ethel Cain, who threatened to “rally the Amish” if Drake mentioned Meg again.
Despite the support she did receive, it is often the case that the naysayers are louder than the believers – and we’ve seen that play out in real time with men like 50 Cent. He maintains a very active social media presence. And since her initial allegations, he’s shared a few posts mocking Meg’s claims that Tory shot her. His posts included a meme that went viral, comparing Meg to Jussie Smollett, and this interview clip that suggests that because she had to “think” about her answer when asked if she had a sexual relationship with Tory, she was likely lying about being shot by him too.
Rapper Yung Joc was forced to cut his hair off after losing a bet about the final verdict. He clearly didn’t believe her claims were legitimate. Rapper and podcast host Joe Budden, who was relentless in his commentary about Meg leading up to the trial and as it unfolded, also issued an apology recently. He discussed his strong dislike for her, which he said stemmed from her ‘horrible’ treatment of his friends in the industry.
Last April, Melayna wrote about the ridiculousness of Meg having to explain and defend herself as much as she has had to since July of 2020. In her article, she pointed to the failure by Black men and Black media to protect Black women like Meg – a stance I completely agree with.
The thing is, rap and hip-hop are notoriously male-dominated genres. And while we’re seeing an influx of female artists like Glorilla, City Girls, Ice Spice and Bree Runway, the treatment Meg has endured signifies the need to approach the future with caution – because this is still very much a boys' club.
One thing that’s frustrated me to no end in recent days is the praise being offered to these men as they say sorry. TMZ suggested 50 Cent was taking the “high road” for issuing an apology, as if this was some sort of minor miscommunication and he’s agreed to drop the issue. It goes back to Melayna’s point about the fact that this has been framed as a debate, most often by hip-hop blogs, hungry for the engagement and activity this topic brought to their comment sections.
Taking the high road is about doing the moral thing, the ethical thing. What is moral and ethical about mocking a woman who was shot? Taking time out of your day to look for memes and coming up with clever captions to share them to your audience of more than 28 million people? I think the reason it's being framed as this diplomatic deed of nobility really stems from the ego and pride inherently attached to being a rapper. It misrepresents and overexaggerates the significance of a mea culpa, particularly because they were on the wrong side of history to begin with.
Equally as frustrating to me, though, is how much of a talking point Meg’s relationship with Tory has been in justifying everything from whether she was shot at all to whether she deserved it. As Melayna said, even Black women like Vivica Fox created and fostered harm by contributing to this dangerous narrative, blaming Meg. Whether she had sex with him and whether they were romantically involved should not have played any part in someone even beginning to justify what Tory has been found guilty of.
Over the last two years, and even long before that, Meg has single-handedly countered the stereotypical image of the “strong, Black woman.” She’s been vulnerable and she’s been vocal about the state of her mental health all the way through. It took so much for Meg to finally get the benefit of the doubt. It took the release of this damning phone call between Tory Lanez and Kelsey. It took two years of Meg enduring sheer hell. Breaking down during her testimony and admitting that at one point she wished she had died that night. And the irony of a legal court proceeding in an industry and genre filled with disbelief in the justice system finally getting people to change their minds should not be lost on anyone.
And to what end? The guilty verdict? The loss of yet another relationship with her best friend Kelsey? What does justice look like in a situation like this?
Recently, I had to take some ex-friends to small claims court over a trip I fronted the cost of and never got reimbursed for. For an entire year leading up to this court conference, I had sleepless nights, unrelenting anxiety and felt like I had no control over my life or my emotions. Mind you, this was a small claims court case. When the day arrived, I settled for the first amount they tossed out and was just so eager to put it behind me. I realized that it wasn’t about the money. It was about vindication. The vindication and the victory didn’t necessarily come from being awarded money I knew I was owed, but instead came when the judge asked the defendants the following question:
“Can any of you tell me why this young lady shouldn’t get her money back?”
It brought me so much relief to hear someone else say it out loud. I felt like I could finally exhale. I imagine Meg experienced a similar sense of relief in hearing the guilty verdict. Hearing someone else say he committed a crime, and we see that and we see you. I hope that it was validating for her. But I wish that she didn’t need that validation more.
There are calls for Meg to follow in Cardi B’s footsteps and sue the blogs who contributed to the narrative that she was lying. Personally, it’s something I would love to see. But perhaps for now, she can simply exhale. That’s a victory, too.