Last night (July 27th) Megan Thee Stallion took to IG Live to detail her harrowing experience of being shot earlier this month in an alleged altercation with fellow artist Tory Lanez. It’s an ordeal we’re yet to know the full details of, but what we do know is that after facing serious injuries, Meg was met with twitter jokes and memes.
This of course is an inhumane and gortesque reaction, not only carried out by the casual nobody on social media, but also those with influence such as Draya Michele and serial irritant, 50 Cent.
Whilst many - mostly black women - were quick to highlight how horrific these reactions were, it brought to the forefront to those outside of our demographic (because we already knew) the extent to which Black women’s lives specifically are deemed as less valuable.
lmao isn't meg like 6 ft bro? he's like 5'3 and she definitely has more mass than him overall. nigga actin like meg is kendall Jenner size.— hippy F'ass | (@jayFASSofficial) July 28, 2020
Now, many have already been through the reasons why Meg’s horrific experience was deemed as “comedic” with a fine tooth. This included her height; being a tall woman framed her to be somewhat masculine and thus, implied she was strong enough for literal bullets to not phase her, as well as her “bubbly persona”. For the latter, it was implied that she may have even found the inappropriate reactions funny herself, and this arguably shows a much bigger issue with social media - a lack of boundaries and an issue with extremities.
Anybody can understand the importance of laughing at yourself: life is hard enough so why take yourself so seriously, right? In a normal balanced world, this would materialise in a giggle when spilling coffee on your shirt – not when you’ve been shot twice.
But we have seen people sympathetic to potentially life-threatening injuries of others – just not black women. For example, last September Kevin Hart was in a car crash. Here he was – rightfully – met with compassion, and whilst there probably was the odd joke here and there, it cannot be compared to the plethora of content Megan Thee Stallion faced across social media.
Okay,, Kevin Hart is in the hospital from a car crash and I can honestly sad I am so sad rn. Praying really hard for him!!!— shay-millaaa (@MillerShailey) September 1, 2019
Sadly, Megan had to tell users herself of how disgustingly unfunny said jokes were on Twitter, before taking to Instagram Live to express her disappointment at the reactions.
We can imagine recovering from a traumatic experience with additional injuries is difficult enough, but Meg also detailed how hard it was given she had lost her mother, father and grandmother. It was heart-breaking to watch and what was especially annoying was that she shouldn’t have had to, but felt it was necessary to remind people of her humanity.
"I had to get surgery, it was super scary, it was just the worst experience of my life, and it’s not funny," she said. "It’s nothing to joke about and it’s nothing for y’all to go and be making fake stories about. I didn’t put my hands on nobody. I didn’t deserve to get shot."
"And thank God that the bullets didn’t touch bones, they didn’t break tendons. I know my mama and my daddy and my granny had to be lookin’ out for me with that one, because where the bullets hit at, they missed everything, but the motherfuckers was in there. And it’s not that I was protecting anybody, I just wasn’t ready to speak."
To further quote Megan's own words: "I ain’t never seen so many grown ass motherfuckin’ men chime in some shit that wasn’t they motherfuckin’ business in the first motherfuckin’ place... What if your motherfuckin’ sister got shot? What if your motherfuckin’ girlfriend got shot? What if your motherfuckin’ best friend got shot? Would you be crackin’ jokes then?"
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If there’s any part of you that is wondering whether her survival is what drove people to joke (not that it is a justification regardless), I urge you to consider social media’s reaction to the tragic death of Breonna Taylor.
Earlier this year, Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was shot and killed eight times by police officers whilst she slept. I don’t think it’s necessary to outline why this is tragic, but many social media users don’t seem to share this common sense and have essentially progressed to meme-ifying Breonna’s death.
This is where we saw people replace the usual content of “funny memes” with “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”. As well as it being wildly inappropriate, it was also performative nonsense with no tangible call to action – for anyone who has engaged with this, please ask yourself what telling me ‘to run a bath, have some tea and arrest the police officers who killed Breonna’ actually did for her case, I’ll wait.
Outside of the memes, we’ve also seen literal campaigns focusing Black women killed by police officers co-opted. Following the unexplained death of Sandra Bland in custody, after she was unlawfully pulled over by the police, the #SayHerName campaign was created. We often see Black men being killed by police, which has resulted in activism focusing only their deaths. However, Black women are too, and this is often treated as an afterthought, which pushed the creation of this campaign.
Yet, when we’re not being meme’d, our campaigns are being replaced with hashtags such as #SayHisName - whilst well intentioned, this essentially overshadows the initial point.
Black women continue to be failed both in their deaths and in their lives, both in comparison to their white counterparts, and male counterparts too. Black women shouldn’t have to publicly cry to be comforted whilst alive, nor meme’d to raise awareness in their deaths.
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Words: Tochi Imo
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