“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”-Malcolm X
No matter the year, Malcolm X’s words will forever ring true. As a Black woman, I am used to Black pain often being reduced to nothing, whether that be emotional trauma or physical pain. Black people’s suffering is seen as being nonexistent. The myth that Black people do not experience the same level of pain as others continue to hurt the community and affect the way people view Black pain/trauma.
On July 16, it was reported that Megan Thee Stallion was allegedly shot in the foot by Tory Lanez. As a result, Megan’s fans were rightfully angry at Tory and worried about Megan’s safety and mental health after the terrifying experience. Unfortunately, people also found an opportunity to bring down a Black woman once again and make inappropriate jokes about the violence inflicted on Megan.
Megan responded to the many jokes on her Twitter account, and later on Instagram live.
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
And fuck all the hoe ass niggas making jokes about it too🖕🏾 I’ll talk about shit when I get ready
— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) July 22, 2020
the full Megan Thee Stallion instagram live video of meg speaking out after being shot. pic.twitter.com/TvWoue2T3r
— c (@chuuzus) July 27, 2020
Watching someone as down to earth as Megan be made fun of for something terrible done to her is another reminder for Black women that we don’t get to be vulnerable in the media. The fact that Megan had to tell people that her trauma was no joke is infuriating; she did not deserve to be made into a joke, nor should she have needed to tell people to be more compassionate towards her. Black women are often at the forefront when speaking for others, especially when it comes to Black men, and yet, the first people to diminish Megan’s pain or turn Breonna Taylor’s death into a viral TikTok challenge were Black men. The same could be said for Black women who go through similar incidents as other celebrities on social media but are met with a very different response.
The response to Azealia Bank’s message on her IG story reveals the double standards that arise for Black women.
When Kanye West used his social media to express his feelings that clearly showed his mental health was suffering, people protected him and became angry towards those who they felt didn’t do enough to protect Kanye. Most people who know about Kanye know that he is bipolar, and so when he uses his social media to express himself, most people show genuine concern for his wellbeing. What’s concerning is that Azealia herself is bipolar as well. Still, people often ignore her moments of depression due to the drama she’s been involved in, but that shouldn’t be justification for belittling Azealia’s struggles. It’s the fact that Kanye as well has his fair share of drama, but the Black community did not let that stop them from showing their concern nonetheless. Azealia is a small reminder that Black women are not afforded the same chances as non-Black people and Black men in the music industry or celebrity world in general. Azealia has been treated poorly by social media for years, her moments of struggle made into memes by social media users. It’s upsetting to know that she has become one of the many Black women whose moments of turmoil are overlooked. Black women with mental illness truly never get the same concern as others. We are seen as violent, crazy, intimidating, or problematic when our mental illness isn’t censored, and that isn’t fair.
Megan is right. Black women are often unprotected. Black women are made to have to watch other Black women just like them experience violence and embarrassment and be diminished or sexualized as justification for their pain. It is difficult for Black women to share their moments of sadness with the world because often they are seen as deserving of the misfortune they get. People find ways to justify the pain these Black women have faced, and as a result, it normalizes diminishing Black pain in general. For a very long time, Black women have always been seen as symbols of strength and confidence, to the point where a video of a Black woman crying on camera is seen as an inspiration. Black women are resilient, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to be vulnerable and protected. Don’t let our pain be your source of joy. Watching another human being become a victim to bullying, violence, or mental health should never be your source of entertainment.
Featured Image Credit: Megan Thee Stallion’s IG (@/theestallion)