Journalistically, I’m supposed to use the word “allegedly” when talking about Tory Lanez shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in a fit of rage in July. The word “allegedly” is supposed to be used because, despite the fact Megan Thee Stallion confirmed — er, accused — Lanez of shooting her in the foot multiple times, it hasn’t been proven in a court of law. Those are the rules, I guess.
Also, journalistically, I’m not supposed to advocate for Lanez getting tossed down a flight of stairs onto a stack of bear traps.
And, journalistically, I am supposed to have listened to the project Lanez released at midnight that was supposed to tell his side of the story or whatever before writing about him today. Journalistically, I should have subjected myself to the 17-track album, which he teased ahead of time, tweeting, “I’m sorry for my silence … but respectfully … I got time today,” making people believe he was going to actually say something of substance or even apologize for what he “allegedly” did.
Respectfully, fuck that.
I know all I need to know about Lanez and his continued act of anti-women violence. I’ve seen the lyrics like “how the fuck you get shot in your foot, don’t hit no bones or tendons,” repeating the bogus conspiracy theories that have circulated online to defend his innocence. I’ve seen the fact he insults as many women as humanly possible, including Kehlani and Dreamdoll, through the course of his songs (which, as long we’re talking about music, generally don’t come even remotely close to good).
I can’t express enough how despicable it is to shoot a Black woman, go silent, then pretend to offer some sort of contrition or explanation that turns out to be a ruse to promote an album that goes on to continue to insult that same Black woman. That’s bad enough. But I can’t even wrap my brain around what it takes to release that album a day after Black women had to endure the pain of seeing Breonna Taylor’s killers escape prosecution. To perpetuate violence against Black women at this moment is below the floor I’d thought possible for Lanez.
It’s easy to hashtag a woman’s name and copy and paste quotes from people who actually gave a damn about Black women, but the way to show up is to stand firmly in support and defense of the population that stands up for us every single time.
I know that cancel culture doesn’t exist, especially for anyone who harms Black women. These type of infractions largely go unpunished. Especially in hip-hop. The culture has never held its Black men accountable for harming Black women. Russell Simmons is still doing Breakfast Club interviews where Charlemagne and DJ Envy are calling him “Uncle Russ.” Nobody checked Dr. Dre for assaulting Dee Barnes. Rappers never stopped making songs with Chris Brown. Fabolous punched his wife’s teeth out and was part of Verzuz just a couple of months ago. Rap has no history of actually reckoning with the harm we do to Black women.
It’s hard to find faith that any of that would change, but this would be a hell of a time to start. The 36 hours before Lanez’s tape was full of Black men repeating the same Malcolm X quote that “the most disrespected person in America is a Black woman.” This, of course, came after months of Breonna Taylor hashtags and memes and Instagram posts and T-shirts and whatever other way people felt like they were amplifying her name. And not a day later, people are going to allow Lanez’s perpetuation of misogynoir violence to continue?
There should be a line in the sand between rappers who are going to be silent and those who are going to do something. Freeze him out. Refuse to work with him. Threaten to kick his ass. Hell, there are literally hundreds of rap songs that use the phrase “ride for my n***as.” Can at least one of those artists ride out for Megan? It’s easy to hashtag a woman’s name and copy and paste quotes from people who actually gave a damn about Black women, but the way to show up is to stand firmly in support and defense of the population that stands up for us every single time. Actually, it’s the bare goddamn minimum.
Megan Thee Stallion was shot. A gun was pulled on her and fired; a bullet entered her body. She could have died. And when she spoke the truth, people mocked her and accused her of lying. And these same people are listening to Lanez or being silent about his continued abuse, and, Jesus Christ, do you not see how this same disregard for Megan Thee Stallion is the same disregard for Black women that got Breonna Taylor killed and allowed the police to go free?
Tory Lanez has got to go. Plain and simple. There should be no space for his songs, his presence, or his continued abuse. Make an example out of him. Otherwise, your tweets and memes and #girldad hashtags are as meaningless as his music. If we can’t even rid ourselves of Lanez, then what the hell are we wasting Black women’s time for?