During last weekend's Rolling Loud music festival in Miami, Florida, rapper DaBaby chose violence when he invited fellow artist Tory Lanez onto the stage during his performance.
Following Megan Thee Stallion's set, DaBaby brought a mystery figure inside of a mascot costume only for it to be revealed as Lanez, who shot Megan in the foot last July. Although the rapper was not listed on the lineup, this wasn't his only appearance at the festival. Kodak Black brought him on stage Saturday evening. Following his reveal, the duo performed their collaboration together, which was shortly after his performance of "Crybaby," his track with Megan.
Whether or not you're a fan of DaBaby's music, his choice to bring Lanez on stage is not only distasteful toward Megan but disrespectful to women that have survived assault. If any survivors of assault attended Rolling Loud, they were subjected to being in the environment of an abuser, and Megan's chance of running into Lanez were heightened.
Minimizing the situation to being "rap beef" or a harmless surprise unequivocally diminishes the misogyny that DaBaby is encouraging. Misogynoir, which targets both racism and misogyny toward Black women, results from the oppression that Black women face from their male and white counterparts.
In October, Megan published an op-ed in the New York Times titled Why I Speak Up For Black Women and discussed how "Black women are still constantly disrespected and disregarded in so many areas of life." She continued to mention the phrase "Protect Black Women" and how casually Black women are often neglected in situations of violence or abuse. Megan's op-ed was emotionally written in all of the ways it should be, but that begs the question: Will Black women ever truly be protected?
Lanez and DaBaby's behaviors toward Black women like Megan are not surprising, considering the lack of consequences toward men in the hip-hop industry. Whether you're questioning the social circles that protect abusers or the festival organizers that allow them into their spaces, men like Lanez hardly face ramifications for their actions. Meanwhile, figures like DaBaby associated with abusers like Lanez are guilty of encouraging their behavior and capitalizing off Megan's physical and emotional pain. Lanez and DaBaby's behaviors toward Black women like Megan are not surprising, considering the lack of consequences toward men in the hip-hop industry.
In 2018, rapper Fabolous was charged with four counts of domestic violence for aggravated assault toward reality television star Emily B. He expressed remorse for his actions and pleaded guilty to one count of harassment to avoid a jail sentence. Ultimately, he did not face any repercussions for his actions and was invited onto a Verzuz battle alongside Jadakiss last summer. Whether you're questioning the social circles that protect abusers or the festival organizers that allow them into their spaces, men like Lanez and Fabolous hardly face ramifications for their actions.
Meanwhile, figures like DaBaby associated with abusers like Lanez are guilty of encouraging their behavior and capitalizing off Megan's physical and emotional pain. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, compared to non-Black women: Black women experience drastically higher rates of psychological abuse. More than four in ten Black women experience physical assault from a partner, and more than 20 percent of Black women are raped during their lifetimes.
Black women deserve better, whether or not their abusers are artists on the top charts. Phrases like "Believe Women" or "Protect Black Women" are useless without actions that portray that Black women are being supported, uplifted, and free from harm. Lanez and his fanbase still ridicule Megan and cheer the actions that he and his circle within the hip-hop industry do, such as their stunt at Rolling Loud. More accountability needs to be held toward the systems and figures that continue to let down women like Megan, and unfortunately many more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse, please get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788.