Black folks, we need to have a real chat.
Today, after a whirlwind trial filled with inaccurate reporting and malicious viewpoints, a jury found Canadian rapper Tory Lanez—born Daystar Peterson—guilty on all three charges in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion in 2020. Specifically, he was found guilty of assault with a firearm, negligent discharge of a weapon and possession of a concealed and unregistered firearm in a vehicle.
Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” Although she spoke of the silence of Black figures and voices by way of white supremacy, the Black community exerted this same violence in the case of Megan Thee Stallion.
It’s true that we often shy away from critiquing ourselves—meaning our community—as we receive a great deal of finger-pointing externally, but we cannot continue moving like this. This message is direct to you, Black people.
Leading up to this trial, Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Pete, was met with such vitriol and disgusting hate for her decision to come forward against Peterson. As a result, she received death threats, has been slut-shamed, and was questioned about whether or not she was harmed and wrongfully disrespected for something she did not do to herself. Above all, an enraging level of misogynoir—a deeply inherent contempt, prejudice and dislike of Black women—was displayed across our community by not just Black men, but Black women and gender non-conforming folks as well.
This hatred of a Black woman with status, popularity and security in her being is not uncommon though. Famed track star FloJo even experienced it at the height of her career. There is a certain threat felt about Black women with the aforementioned traits as it goes against the constructed notions of subservience expected of her, both traditionally and historically.
This is a devastatingly overdue conversation we need to have in our community and not shy away from. As Malcolm X observed, the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. Comedians cosplaying and mocking the worst parts of our women, the Tyler Perry shows that are unforgivingly crude in their depictions of us, and the misogynoir think pieces, podcasts, social media posts and blogs—they all profit off the disrespect of Black women.
If you are familiar with Megan’s story, then you are aware of the compounded hardships she has experienced, especially as of lately. In court, she admitted to even having suicidal ideations because of the treatment she has gotten from people. This is unacceptable.
Is the placement of Black men on pedestals more important than the livelihood and well-being of others in our community?
This is not to say that the Black man is not deserving of protection, but it does not evade the need for total accountability. From the #MeToo Movement to women’s rights, it seems that the over-glorification of Black men has emboldened many, regardless of gender, to be dismissive of the lived experiences of Black women. And we know where this comes from and what it is rooted in. But it does not mean that we cannot evolve or progress past such archaic thinking. We can no longer choose to stand by folks simply because of our connection to Blackness. It’s not an “anti-Black Man agenda” or a need to vilify them. This behavior that our community has incessantly normalized is harmful and almost cost a young woman her life and dignity.
Now that Peterson has been found guilty, after two years of people caping for him blindly and wishing ill against the “Hot Girl,” she deserves so many apologies from so many of us in the Black community.
All in all, Megan needed our support and too many of us failed her. Outside of the persona of who she is, Megan Thee Stallion is a Black woman who was victimized and ridiculed for coming forward about her mistreatment. Instead of being shown love and compassion, rappers wrote diss tracks about her, Black women shunned her from their so-called beloved sisterhood and unsolicited judges of public opinion deemed her unworthy of justice and care.
Unfortunately, this decision regarding Tory Lanez/Daystar Peterson will not bring her peace or real justice. She will continue to be seen as an outcast by a vast amount of people globally although she was the one shot.
Let this trial be a lesson about the importance of discernment when it comes to the media sources we consume, the words that come out of our mouths and a reminder to question your internalized misogynoir when situations like this occur. Analyze the ways in which you perpetuate hatred against Black women, may it be purposefully or not, so that you can properly show up for the Black women in your own respective lives.
No matter what happens after this guilty verdict, we should hope and pray that Megan Thee Stallion is uplifted by genuine people who hold her in the highest regard and will protect her.
No further questions.