Tory Lanez has been charged with assault with a firearm after being accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion several times in her feet. Also charged with carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, he has denied shooting Megan in his latest album. As this story continues to unfold, we revisit Kelechi Okafaor’s words on why Black women need more protection.
'Black women are the mules of the world…' are the words by Zora Neale Hurston that thundered through my mind as I watched Megan Thee Stallion describe the night that she says she was shot in the foot by Tory Lanez. Instead of Megan being on instagram live to celebrate her number one single WAP alongside Cardi B, she was online explaining to “fans” that she hadn’t lied about being shot and why she hadn’t initially told the police what had happened.
In the clip that I watched of Megan’s post, she outlines that the main reason she had to come online to dispel rumours is because the man she was initially trying to protect, Tory Lanez, was in fact besmirching her character and so people had began to question whether Megan had truly been a victim of this violence.
I had a lump in my throat watching Megan’s pained expression as she relived the traumatic events of that night just so she could hopefully get people to feel some empathy towards her. Unfortunately as a Black woman in this world, it feels like too much of an ask.
We have to question how it is possible to cast doubt on the violence a woman has suffered when there are clear videos and photographs showing the wounds? This is possible because of misogynoir.
Throughout history Black women have been considered less than human and less than woman.
Throughout history Black women have been considered less than human and less than woman thus underserving of empathy or tenderness. So when a Black woman speaks of her pain and her trauma, society is quick to dismiss it or poke holes in the narrative as a way to justify the violence Black women have endured.
Whether consciously or not, society operates on the Angry Black Woman trope which paints Black women as unfeeling and full of rage. I believe that Black women have to reclaim this narrative because when we observe history and the violence Black women have endured (from the James Marion Sims inventing the speculum by testing out prototypes by torturing enslaved Black women, to the present day where the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor have still not been brought to justice) we can see clearly how Black women are an inextricable factor to our modern day life while simultaneously it is communicated that Black women are dispensable and deserving of injustice.
Megan described getting out of the vehicle she was in with Tory Lanez and walking away because she didn’t want to continue the argument taking place at the time. Tory then allegedly began to shoot at her thus putting her life and body in danger. When the police arrived at the scene, with helicopters flying overhead, Megan stated that out of fear for herself, as well as Tory and the other two people in the car, she told the police that she had stepped on glass instead of the truth - which was that Tory had shot her feet.
Because of our Blackness, police may not see our humanity.
I felt overwhelmed by sadness thinking of my experiences as a Black woman who has been in harm's way but having a visceral understanding that the police may not see my humanity in that moment or the humanity of the person who had harmed me, because of our Blackness and choosing instead to remain silent.
It is a sobering realisation for many that Blackness in America is not safe, especially not in proximity with the police. Megan said she understood that if she had mentioned being shot at, the police would’ve been aware that there was a gun in the car and may have started shooting at the four of them. If an extremely talented and successful Black woman isn’t afforded empathy after sharing an ordeal such as the one Megan described, imagine what it is like for the everyday Black women around the world. Malcolm X was not spewing hyperbole when he stated that 'the Black woman is the least protected' in all of society.
Last month the likes of Russell Brand clamoured to share their views about the WAP music video released by Megan and Cardi B, and were quick to attempt to police the way Black women express their sexuality. Where is the fervour now in supporting Megan, a Black woman who is still working through the loss of her mother, dealing with the height of fame as well as being the victim of domestic violence?
There has to be more mainstream conversations around the commodification and appropriation of Black femininity for mainstream consumption and how it is detrimental to Black womxn, but until then this is a reminder that Black women will no longer be society’s mule.
Follow Kelechi Okafor on Instagram here.