Megan Thee Stallion and the price of overcoming trauma
In one of the most anticipated trials in recent years, rapper Tory Lanez is facing three counts in the 2020 shooting death of global superstar Megan Thee Stallion after an altercation broke out between them and former girlfriend Kelsey Harris in Los Angeles was. Lanez faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted.
Many have given Megan their steadfast support and believed her from the moment she opened up about being shot in the foot in a live Instagram video in August 2020. There were others who said there was no way Lanez could have shot them.
The discourse was discouraging. To be honest, it’s risen to the level of disgusting. Black women experience intimate partner violence more often than their white, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander counterparts. In fact, we are three times as likely to die from it. But instead of rallying around the victims, many feel the need to destroy and pariah them.
Megan was met with extreme acrimony and a seemingly organized hate campaign. And it felt particularly cruel. When she took the stand on Tuesday in the assault and firearms charge trial, she offered the jury a glimpse of what the ordeal was like for her. She summarized the past two years and spoke candidly about what it feels like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. Most heartbreaking, however, was her confession that this abuse made her wish she were dead.
“I wish he would have shot me if I had known I would go through this torture,” she said in her statement on Tuesday.
Still, we watched Megan smile and move on. As far as we know, she refused to let this traumatic incident stop her. In fact, aside from her emotional Saturday Night Live performance on Oct. 15, we didn’t see her break. And out of selfishness we admired their persistence. But when we heard her testimony, we could no longer pretend we didn’t know the truth: all of this came at too great a cost. Her public perseverance came at the expense of private torment.
Musical guest Meg Thee Stallion performs “Anxiety” on “Saturday Night Live” and becomes emotional and seemingly fighting back tears during her performance on stage.
Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images
When Megan walked on the scene, she was a breath of fresh air. We all rooted for the resident hottie because it felt like we knew her. Then, just as her star was rising, her world collapsed. In March 2019, Megan lost her mother after a battle with brain cancer. After losing her father during her childhood, she now navigated the world without either of her parents.
When Megan met Lanez just months before filming in July 2020, she said they bonded over the loss of their mothers. After losing his mother as a child, Lanez understood what Megan was going through, and she admitted she was trying to “fill the void” with the people around her. Can any of us imagine what it’s like to rely on someone to get you through the worst time of your life – only for them to start an even worse experience? It’s unfathomable.
Harris’ courtroom antics left a lot to be desired. Lanez’s legal defense strategy is to convince the jury that Harris was the shooter; It has led many on social media to speculate about Harris’ final. But beyond that, it questions who Megan was around.
The immediacy of grief can cloud anyone’s judgment. Filming took place as she was leaving a party just a year after the death of Megan’s mother and amid her desire to start a new family to ease the pain. Undoubtedly, there is guilt, shame, and the belief that your actions—on some level—brought you here. Add in online harassment and songs mocking your experience, who wouldn’t wish they were dead?
Conversations of suicide remain necessary, and with the recent death of famed DJ and famed dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, we are reminded that no amount of money or fame can relieve a person from this level of pain. But what about those people who may never consider suicide but get up every morning wishing they hadn’t woken up? What do we offer people who are disappointed that the last painful event was not the last?
Sometimes this world can be incredibly cruel and finding light often seems impossible. I believe we should be light for each other. This includes fighting injustice and using our platforms to speak for the victims. Meg may or may not see it, but someone else will, and they will know they are not alone. Being light also means being there to remind people that the mistakes they made in trusting and loving the wrong people are not character flaws but opportunities for deeper growth and true healing. It’s important to find every possible way to let people know that you’re grateful that whatever it was didn’t kill them and that they’re still here.
Admittedly, I’m nervous about the upcoming verdict and what it means for Megan. Regardless of what the jury decides, she will still face needless hate and ridicule. At the same time, it’s refreshing to know that she’s an advocate for therapy and has the resources to get through this ordeal as healthy as possible. Still, I pray for her heart and spirit because it can’t be easy. Despite this tragedy, she has a beautiful life and deserves to thrive in it.
We all deserve it. We all deserve to live.