ABC’s ‘TIME100’: Taraji P. Henson honors Megan Thee Stallion
Watch an exclusive clip from ABC’s TIME100.
In a new op-ed in The New York Times this week, rapper Megan Thee Stallion writes, “it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.”
The hip-hop star behind “Savage” and “WAP” published the essay after she made a political statement during her Saturday Night Live performance against Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron “for his appalling conduct in denying Breonna Taylor and her family justice.” The piece also arrives as Tory Lanez, whom Megan says shot her in July, now faces felony weapons and assault charges.
“Black women are still constantly disrespected and disregarded in so many areas of life,” she writes.
On Oct. 3, when Megan performed as musical guest on SNL, she performed her hit “Savage” as the words “Protect Black women” appeared on screen in the background. Through audio clips, she quoted Malcolm X’s 1962 speech in which he says, “The most disrespected, unprotected, neglected person in America is the Black woman.” Through a separate clip, she quoted activist Tamika Mallory in calling Cameron, who handled Breonna Taylor’s case, “no different than the sellout negroes that that sold our people into slavery.”
“I anticipated some backlash: Anyone who follows the lead of Congressman John Lewis, the late civil rights giant, and makes ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’ runs the risk of being attacked by those comfortable with the status quo,” Megan writes in the Times. “But you know what? I’m not afraid of criticism. We live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize elected officials.” That said, she questions why something as simple as “Protect Black women” has become so controversial. “Beyond threats to our health and lives,” she adds, “we confront so much judgment and so many conflicting messages on a daily basis.”
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Megan writes how she receives remarks that are often “judgmental and cruel” about her appearance, which she says is about her “showing pride in [her] appearance” and showing “a positive body image.” “When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected,” she adds.
The rapper also faced judgement in the aftermath of her shooting.
“After a party, I was shot twice as I walked away from him,” she writes of Lanez. “We were not in a relationship. Truthfully, I was shocked that I ended up in that place. My initial silence about what happened was out of fear for myself and my friends. Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment. The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”
Following “a lot of self-reflection on that incident,” Megan “realized that violence against women is not always connected to being in a relationship. Instead, it happens because too many men treat all women as objects, which helps them to justify inflicting abuse against us when we choose to exercise our own free will.”
Megan hopes the Biden-Harris ticket will win the election and, with Sen. Kamala Harris as vice president, “usher in an era where Black women in 2020 are no longer ‘making history’ for achieving things that should have been accomplished decades ago.”
“But that will take time, and Black women are not naïve,” she concludes. “We know that after the last ballot is cast and the vote is tallied, we are likely to go back to fighting for ourselves. Because at least for now, that’s all we have.”
Read her full op-ed in The New York Times.