Hip-hop turns 50 this year. Ever since it emerged and evolved into one of the leading musical genres with cultural and social influence, hip-hop has remained hyper-masculine and exclusionary. In this cauldron, women in hip-hop have nonetheless pushed the genre into a female-dominated space, often falling victim to the violence inflicted on them by their male counterparts.
Rapper Megan Thee Stallion has helped spearhead this modern surge in female voices and has become a household name since rising to superstardom in recent years. But her success hasn’t saved her from the same inescapable pattern of violent misogyny that’s rife in hip-hop. In 2020, Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, was shot multiple times in both feet by rapper Tory Lanez while leaving a pool party at reality star Kylie Jenner’s house. Megan eventually accused Lanez of being her shooter. Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was arrested and charged with three felonies, including assault with a semi-automatic firearm. He was found guilty in December 2022 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday.
In the three years between the shooting, the trial and this week’s sentencing, Megan’s credibility as a victim has been questioned. Misinformation campaigns from the Lanez camp fueled the defense his innocence and tried to question Megan’s credibility. High profile hip hop stars like drake and 50 Cent cruelly poked fun at Megan’s public trauma.
During the pronouncement of the verdict, which lasted two days, there were further theatrical performances. The judge read Lanez and Megan’s statements. Lanez’s attorney collected more than 70 letters of support from his friends and family, including Iggy Azalea, an Australian rapper. Azelea’s letter was released publicly this week and sparked major backlash. Online critics questioned their solidarity with the rappers. In a now-deleted tweet, Azalea said she had no idea the statement would be made public: “I’m not in favor of throwing ANYONE’S life away when we can inflict appropriate, rehabilitating punishment instead.” I support prison reform. Point.” “
It hurts that the aftermath of justice and victory for black women will still leave an indelible scar of trauma.
In Megan’s victim statement, she said Lanez “tried to position himself as a victim and set out to destroy my character and my soul. He lied to anyone who would listen and paid bloggers to spread false information about the case on social media.” released music videos and songs to damage my character and continue his crusade.
After Lanez’s conviction, he posted on Instagram Maintaining his innocence despite a guilty verdict: “No matter how you interpret my words, I have always maintained my innocence.” Lanez’s post was liked by fellow Canadian rapper Drake.
Ultimately, Lanez faced up to 22 years in prison, but prosecutors demanded 13 years. The judge sentenced Lanez to 10 years. So justice has been served, hasn’t it? Megan’s perpetrator is back behind bars for the foreseeable decade. Some say the sentence was too lenient, others are applauding the fact that a perpetrator has finally been jailed for his crimes, especially as the #MeToo movement appears to be taking a step backwards in rehabilitating outed perpetrators.
I wish justice was as simple as committing the crime and time, but that is not the case — especially when the victims of the abuse are black women.
Megan’s testimony says it all. Although she has received justice – the justice I am sure she must bury and put to rest this chapter of her life – it seems that even justice cannot undo the damage done. “I was tortured and terrorized,” she said. “Slowly but surely I’m recovering. But I’ll never be the same again.”
The trauma inflicted on black women by black men is getting worse and more complex because of gendered intracommunity violence. It’s not just Megan who has been subjected to violence at the hands of someone in the black and hip-hop community. Hip hop artists like Dr. Dre and Chris Brown have been accused of abuse by black women. In the case of dr. Dre was accused by several black women, hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes, a singer, Dre’s former girlfriend Michel’le and rapper Tairrie B.
In 2015, Dr. Dre for his abusive behavior in the ’90s after being slammed by critics for ignoring his abusive past. After the apology, Barnes said she accepted it, but noted that regardless of his apology, it had become a punchline over the years, “including the fact that she was in an Eminem song that Dr. Dre published and produced, was screwed”.
Black women who normally go public with their abuse usually encounter the same scathing public response. They never encounter great support and empathy. The public’s first instinct is to pounce, attack and defame – flush out and repeat. That’s exactly what happened to Megan and another legend, Lil’ Kim, in their relationship with the late The Notorious BIG. Other high-profile black women have endured the same mockery but received no justice to make up for the unequal proportions.
Justice will never look like a balanced scale for black women—it will always have a bittersweet tinge. Megan and other victims of violence will always have to reckon with the misogynist who silences and gags black women for their experiences of intracommunity violence. It hurts that the aftermath of justice and victory for black women will still leave an indelible scar of trauma. 50 years later, with women consistently topping hip-hop charts and a black woman enjoying semblance of protection on a public stage, it’s time to count down the days of a poison like misogyny.
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