On Saturday, July 11, Megan Thee Stallion posted live footage of her, Tory Lanez, and Kylie Jenner hanging by the pool in Los Angeles. A few hours later, at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, police arrested Lanez for a felony count of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle. Officers found the weapon in his SUV after responding to a disturbance call outside a Hollywood Hills residence.
TMZ initially reported that Megan had suffered a foot injury after coming into contact with broken glass from the car in which Lanez was arrested. But Megan took to her Instagram that Wednesday, July 15, to rectify the details of the event, stating she underwent surgery to remove bullets discharged with the "intention to physically harm" her.
Megan's friend, Kelsey Nicole, also came forward on her Instagram to address rumors that she was the shooter in a since-deleted post, saying that she was "not the one with the gun and would never do something like that."
More details about the early morning events surfaced that Thursday, with sources telling Page Six that Lanez shot Megan from inside his SUV while Megan attempted to leave.
And it was only a matter of hours before memes began to surface, particularly on Twitter, making light of the events.
Unfortunately, Meg noticed these comments. "Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own," she tweeted in response. "It might be funny to y'all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I'm real life hurt and traumatized."
Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own. It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) July 17, 2020
Some of the language in her statement mirrored that which Malcolm X used in 1962, in a Los Angeles speech that remains essential to this day. "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman," he said. "The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
While the events from that night continue to emerge, fans have rallied around the rapper on social media, showing support and compassion. But, sadly, that's not the whole story. A slew of other users within the Twittersphere took it upon themselves to use their platforms to crack jokes for like-bait.
Like-bait as I define it can include insensitive videos, dialogue, and memes created at the expense of others with the sole purpose of shaming or making fun of them. Its only purpose is to garner likes, follows, and clout.
That includes comments like, "Think you gonna act like a hot girl all summer you getting shot" and "Tory Lanez set the Tone we shooting b*** this summer" amongst a number of other disturbing tweets that were found in a since-deleted thread on Twitter by what appeared to be Black men. But they weren't lone rangers — Black women and other users whose race wasn't apparent were also seen posting, liking, and retweeting these memes.
The surreal thing is that these comments are being posted at a time when peaceful protests are spreading across the world, shining a light on the deadly violence that Black people face on a daily basis at the hands of law enforcement and across society.
It makes one wonder, when do the jokes stop? Where does the compassion and accountability begin? These weren't even the worst comments. Users have even gone as far as to take Megan's iconic "Hot Girl Summer" phrase and interchange hot with shot creating "Shot Girl Summer".
Then there are tweets blaming Megan for what someone else did to her. One user, who was far from alone, even went as far as to write, "If you dated or hung around a better class of men then horrible things wouldn't happen to you. Black women are targets in this world but a lot of black women love to talk about toxic black guys but never talk about how they love toxic black guys."
If you dated or hung around a better class of men then horrible things wouldn't happen to you. Black women are targets in this world but a lot of black women love to talk about toxic black guys but never talk about how they love toxic black guys.— T L F (@TravisLFreeman1) July 18, 2020
This is victim blaming. The responsibility is shifted from the abuser to the victim. Rather than holding the alleged shooter accountable, some people are badgering Meg about her decision to spend time with someone she once considered a friend.
This frame of mind is why rape culture is perpetuated and violence against women, especially Black women, is overlooked and pacified. Luckily for Meg, the internet, television, and news can be turned off, even if only for a short period of time, so true healing can begin with the individuals who genuinely care about her well being.
To Megan Thee Stallion: please know you're loved, seen, and supported. Please know the insensitive comments are not that of the majority, but a minority of ignorant individuals too far removed from their own humanity to see you as more than a celebrity or a punchline. You don't deserve any of this — no woman does.
And to the Twitter fingers producing the like-bait: you're perpetuating and normalizing violence against not only Black women, but Black people. The conversations you're having on public platforms and in your private conversations degrade the progressive movements of the past, present, and future. Our forefathers and mothers would never.
The truth is we can't truly heal as a Black community until we address the ongoing violence against women — including trans women and disabled women — within our own communities. Nobody should have to argue that Megan, or any other Black woman, deserves compassion and respect.