Tory Lanez and his inappropriate and corny behavior illustrates a fatal failure to protect and care for Black women.
It’s been two months since word first came out about the shooting that left Megan the Stallion hospitalized. Yesterday, in an attempt to break his silence, Tory Lanez released a new album titled DAYSTAR. The 17-track album serves as Lanez’s public response towards Megan’s allegations and his attempt to “clear his name.”
Could this be the end of Lanez career?
Historically, men in hip hop don’t suffer major career blows when they are found out to be abusers. They get the benefit of the doubt, and the airwaves hear “let’s hear his side of the story too.”
But with such an untimely and inappropriate way to release “his side of the story,” that benefit of the doubt might not be the case for Lanez.
Even with his album reaching #1 in the US on Apple Music, many entertainment blogs have announced that they will not cover Lanez or his music again. Among those are Highsnobiety and RNB_RADAR.
Lanez claims that he still loves Megan, but then why come out with the album, when he could have gone directly to Megan to talk about what happened?
In a later song titled “Care for You,” Lanez raps about loving black women and securing good role models for black youth, but his actions don’t match up. His stance and response to the situation with Meg is nothing short of performative as more information comes out.
If your love for Black women comes with conditions, you may as well leave them alone now. With everything going on in the world it is extremely important that we all surround ourselves with those that truly care about us.
How can calls of “respect Black women” exist concurrently with “we need to hear his side?” How can one simultaneously support Tory Lanez while also failing to believe, and thus protect a Black woman?
If you truly want to protect Black women, you would support efforts to deplatform Tory. Stop streaming his music, stop watching his livestreams, stop showing up for him.
If Black women are the most underprotected people in America, you cannot support Black women while simultaneously supporting their abusers. When news first came out, Megan didn’t mention the gun in the car in order to protect Tory Lanez from police violence, but as we watch things unfold, he turns to gaslighting and exploiting trauma for personal gain.
The protection and care Meg showed for you wasn’t enough for you to reciprocate Tory? You had to not apologize, question her story, AND put her in danger?
But shortly after its provocative poster was added to Netflix, writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré was chased off of social media with death threats.
You might’ve heard about the controversial film after seeing a post circulate around social media. The post most likely included the shocking dance competition scene, plucked from the film without any other context (alongside Netflix’s TV-MA rating). Like anyone with good sense, I reposted it, thinking Netflix was normalizing the grooming of young girls.
Sadly, this outrage emerged out of the far-right anti-mask attempt to use the current pandemic as a statement on child abduction.
This crusade against child exploitation caused all corners of the internet to unite against the director and Netflix. But in yet another success for conservatives and their mission of spreading misinformation while shitting on minorities, we’ve all fallen victim. Unsurprisingly, Americans have linked arms in trashing a Black woman, her story, and her art.
While it isn’t necessarily unfounded that Hollywood socialites have links to child sex-trafficking (à la Jeffrey Epstein, and hey, why don’t we throw in international politicians while we’re at it?), Netflix’s Cuties is far from it.
The film is meant to be uncomfortable
The film follows 11-year-old Amy (Aminata), who, like Doucouré, is a Senegalese girl who must navigate a new environment.
This environment is a Western (French) high school, and she struggles to understand puberty, friendships, culture shock, identity, and femininity.
Doucouré has pointed out that she and those who are upset about child exploitation are “on the same team.”
Yes, at times, Netflix’s Cuties is an uncomfortable, emotionally heavy watch – but purposefully so. Shots of the group – they’ve named themselves the C.U.T.I.E.S. – trying to be sexy and having fun are playful, humorous, and pitiable at the same time.
Close-ups on their flat butts are meant to emphasize how they have children’s bodies. It’s all meant for us to feel uncomfortable with the fact that young girls – all over the world – are doing the same thing in the mirror and feeling bad about themselves because they don’t look like Megan Thee Stallion.
We pretend that it’s not normal for children to be curious about sexuality, even though it’s a phase we all went through. The first time I got my period, I was 10 years old. The first time I sent a nude photo, I was only thirteen. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s one of the many difficult parts of growing up.
Cuties is an important narrative because it is close to home for Black women all over the world. Some people are speaking out about the film and what the internet has gotten wrong about it, like Olatiwa Karade:
The dance competition scene shared countless times omits the part where Amy eventually learns a valuable lesson; one that’s all too familiar to us women.
The film exposes sexual trauma for adolescent women
As a young teenager, I also experienced sexual trauma that I wasn’t ready for. Like Amy, I too had a group of mean friends I wanted to fit in with, and my immigrant mother did not want me to wear makeup or clothes like them.
Not only does the film depict the difficulties of navigating growing up; it highlights this dichotomy that imprisons girls. There are moments when her peers make fun of her for having childlike qualities. And the next day they denigrate her for trying to be more “adult.”
Amy’s actions and experiences highlight her adolescence, purposefully. Behaving like an adult, or, how Amy assumes adults act, takes shape as rebellion or taking agency in making her own choices and pushing back against these binary, opposing pressures.
From spontaneous and impulsive actions that are sometimes violent and end up blowing up in her face. To an unexplainable pool of blood that shows up in her closet. These are all relatable experiences of the stumbling, fumbling transition from childhood into adulthood.
Not all criticism is unwarranted
Some criticism of the film’s depictions still hold weight. Near-nudity and questionable shots raise concern about the fact that these child actors are not old enough to consent.
There are some loose ends that the film does not discuss in depth – for the sake of time, in my opinion – like body image and eating disorders. And victims of child sexual assault have avoided the film to forego triggering re-living their traumatic events.
In the competition scene, you’ll notice the crowd is booing the C.U.T.I.E.S, not supporting them and cheering them on. The truth is, we live in a global culture of pedophilia that tells us that signs of getting old and maturity, like body hair, cellulite, stretch marks and wrinkles are bad, while being youthful, rosy-cheeked, petite and smooth is good.
The larger conversation
It is not only upsetting, but it is a disservice to this film, the young actresses, and Doucouré, to claim this film is solely child exploitation. To an untrained and unthoughtful viewer who sees the film as the world looking in, rather than as little Amy and her friends looking out, children trying to be sexual is disturbing. That is the point of the film.
Of course, the movie has a lot of soft-core pedophile jerk-off material. But perverts exist, and the burden should not fall on women and children to keep them at bay.
That’s like saying there are racists in the world, so people of color should avoid public areas so as not to risk offending them. Anyone who doesn’t see children as sexy will have no problems understanding or viewing this film.
What about the ways that Danielle Cohn and countless other kids on Tik Tok are exploited? Are we gonna do something about that? (Besides banning TikTok, I mean).
Netflix’s Cuties is a beautifully raw coming-of-age film that will make you laugh and cry. It’s a film everyone can learn from. It is a candid, painful look at what it’s like to literally be Amy. I and many other women know because Amy’s experiences were ours.
Turn your anger inward for being a member of a society that contributes to the culture of normalizing this pedophilia, rather than at the Black woman creator for simply telling her story of being a victim of such a culture.
Megan thee “Hot Girl” Stallion has yet again another SAVAGE moment.
In an apathetic and callous Instagram Live session late Thursday night, Megan the Stallion finally revealed anticipated news. She finally addressed the rumors circulating what happened to her in the July 12 incident in Los Angeles.
She confirmed that Tory Lanez is indeed the person who shot her in the car that evening.
Megan and Tory plus Kylie before the shooting incident
Without any further delay or hesitation, she then began explaining what took place on the night of July 12.
“Yes, this n—a Tory shot me,” she says. “You shot me, and you got your publicist and your people to [talk to] these blogs, lying and sh–. Stop lying!”
“I don’t understand. I tried to keep the situation off the internet, but you dragging it. You really fuckin’ dragging it. Motherf—s talkin’ ‘bout I hit this n****. I never hit you. Motherf—s was like, ‘Oh she mad ’cause he was tryna fuck with Kylie.’ No I wasn’t. You dry shot me.”
In the aftermath of the incident, the Houston rapper avoided naming her assailant or getting into specifics surrounding the shooting. But she explained her rationale for staying quiet until now.
“There’s only four mother—ers in the car: me, you, my homegirl and your security — everybody in the car is arguing,” she continues. “I’m in the front seat, he’s in the back. I get out the car, I’m done arguing, I’m walking away.
“This n—a, from the backseat, starts shooting me! I didn’t get cut on no glass! Let me tell you why they saying that. There’s a witness – when the police came… This did not happen at Kylie’s house, this happened damn near back at the house I was staying at.
“ The neighbors called the police, this did not happen at Kylie’s house, this happened damn near back at the house I was staying at. I was just trying to get home. We were five minutes away from my spot.”
“The police come. I’m scared.”
“All this shit going on with the police. The police are shooting motherfuckers for anything. The police were literally killing black people for no motherfucking reason. Soon as the police tell us all ‘Get out the motherfucking car.”
The police are really aggressive. Do you think I’m about to tell the police that us black people got a gun in the car? You want me to tell the laws we got a gun in the car so they can shoot all of us?”
Black women are natural protectors
It’s heartbreaking stories like Megan’s being told countless times from women that still go unheard because individuals choose to be ignorant.
The intersection of police brutality and gun violence trigger women into a state of being natural nurturers and protective. Through the years women have been a primal source of emotional support for men.
Conversely, there is a lack of effort to reciprocate the same support for women after moments of trauma. It seems to be an innate instinct for women to protect men even when they’re in the wrong.
Survivors’ immediate reactions in the aftermath of trauma are quite complicated and are affected by many factors. Typically their own experiences, their immediate family and friends, and the responses of the larger community in which they live can alter their acute responses.
When Megan shared photos of her injuries her fans understood it was a first step in coping with what happened that night.
Despite Megan stating that she was deliberately attacked, stories started to surface as to what motivated the shooting. Many uninformed individuals painted Megan—the woman without a deadly weapon—as the aggressor.
This forced Megan to explain there was nothing she could have done to warrant being shot.
“It’s nothing to joke about. It was nothing for y’all to start going and making up fake stories about,” Megan said.
“I didn’t put my hands on nobody. I didn’t deserve to get shot. I didn’t do shit.”
Women who experience any form of trauma appear to always BE overly explaining their side of the story just to feel understood. They are compelled to fight for their own lives in addition to the people who commit acts of violence against them.
Few women are burdened with heightening feelings of anxiety because they suppress their needs for the likes of others. Nevertheless, women also have to worry about saving the “reputations” of the said perpetrator so they wouldn’t be harmed in the process of telling their truth.
Contrary to popular belief, Black women have a significantly lower chance of being believed in any instance if there isn’t evidence present.
Women seem to have to prioritize optics and put on a show over their feelings and it is simply not fair! The perception of our experiences is always asked to be toned down or not respected when all we’ve asked is to feel safe and given the decency to be treated equally.
When will society allow women to feel healed?
Megan has dealt with a lot of trauma since she started her career, with the death of her grandmother and her mother, who was her manager late March of 2019. Unfortunately, she had to add this to the list of things she’s been through.
We just hope she evolves in the days to come. We see you, and we recognize what you are going through Megan.
With 23 Grand Slam singles titles and no sign of slowing down, Serena Williams is truly the GOAT. Yet, William’s remarkable sporting accomplishments continue to be undermined as her professional tennis career cannot be disentangled from her identity as a black woman –especially when competing in an elitist and historically white sport.
The release of GQ magazine’s 2018 Men Of the Year edition recently raised eyebrows as the magazine included the tennis superstar as part of its list. Not only did her inclusion as the only female amongst a male list of public figures garner criticism but her cover image has produced a heated debate.
The magazine’s choice to use scare quotes around the word “woman” in reference to Williams has been perceived by some fans and cultural critics as pejorative.
Others insist that people are reading to much into the punctuation’s meaning and have pointed out that the cover was a collaboration with William’s on-court clothing designer Virgil Abloh who frequently uses scare quotes across his body of work.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time the media’s treatment of William’s image has been riddled with controversy and representational issues.
Her catsuit at the French Open provoked criticism from the French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli who expressed in an interview that he viewed the outfit was “disrespectful to the game” and that the catsuit went “too far.”
Plus, when the tennis champion lost the U.S. Open women’s final against Naomi Osaka following a heated dispute with umpire Carlos Ramos, an Australian newspaper published a monstrous and demonized caricature of Williams that drew on racist tropes.
Each of these instances demonstrates that Williams’s physical appearance, on-court fashion, demeanor, and temperament are always under high scrutiny. More pointedly, these occurrences are emblematic of the way in which Black sportswomen’s womanhood and femininity are incessantly challenged and questioned.
When viewed in the context of the media’s coverage of Serena Williams, the GQ cover is ultimately insensitive to the fact that the tennis star, across the span of her career, has continually combatted racism and sexism.
It is no secret that the world of sport is considered a male domain. And while many are aware that gender discrimination and sexism are characteristic of sports coverage and the representation of women athletes, there is a notable absence in assessing the way in which this type of gender discrimination is also racialized.
The media’s preoccupation on William’s body and the propagation of her ‘muscular physique’ are employed as a way to ‘other’ African-American female athletes from white female athletes. As a result, this discourse reinforces a historic binary between Black women and white women.
The point is, is that Williams should be allowed to wear an empowering “Wakanda-like” catsuit that is indicative of her awe-inspiring athletic capacity.
Her three-decade-long career exemplifies her commitment to breaking down institutional barriers for Black women and ultimately shows how Williams is an important role model for Black women and young girls to believe in themselves and continue to “aim higher.”