How Megan Thee Stallion’s court battle highlights misogyny targeting Black women

Last week, rapper Tory Lanez was convicted of three felonies for shooting rap star Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in 2020. Much of the trial played out online where commentary on the case sparked a larger conversation about the way Black women survivors of abuse and violence are treated in society. “Misogynoir Transformed" author Moya Bailey joined Laura Barrón-López to discuss.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Late last week, Canadian rapper Tory Lanez was convicted of three felonies for shooting rap star Megan Thee Stallion in the foot in 2020.

    The Los Angeles trial received a lot of attention online, where commentary on the case sparked a larger conversation about the way Black women survivors of abuse and violence are treated in society.

    Laura Barrón-López has our own conversation about that.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    Megan Thee Stallion has been outspoken about the harassment she has faced since coming forward about being shot. She's been openly mocked by other hip-hop stars and has received death threats on social media.

    Criticism of the Grammy-winning rapper in the aftermath of the shooting and throughout the trial underscore the larger issue of misogyny targeting Black women.

    To discuss all this, I'm joined by Moya Bailey, a professor at Northwestern University and author of the book "Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women's Digital Resistance" in U.S. culture.

    Moya, thank you so much for joining the "NewsHour."

    Tory Lanez, the man convicted of three felonies, including assault with a semiautomatic handgun, could face up to 20 years in prison. He could also possibly be deported.

    Do you think that this verdict will help stop the misogyny that Megan Thee Stallion is facing, as well as other Black women?

    Moya Bailey, Author, "Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women's Digital Resistance": Unfortunately, no.

    I don't think our judicial system is really set up to deal with the kinds of transformative justice that's required for misogynoir to really be eradicated from our society. It's going to take more than one sentence of one person to actually create a different impact in terms of harm.

    And, unfortunately, what we know about the criminal justice system is that it actually creates more harm. So, while this verdict does help substantiate Megan's claims of harm, it doesn't actually get us closer to justice.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    Megan also faced criticism from multiple rappers, like 21 Savage, Drake, 50 Cent who all seemingly accused her of lying about being shot.

    This also happens as WNBA star Brittney Griner, who recently returned home after the prisoner swap with Russia, has been facing criticism and doubt about whether or not she was worthy of that swap.

    What similarities do you see in these cases about — with these two Black women?

  • Moya Bailey:

    Well, I think you really pointed it out, that it's because they're both Black women that they are facing this unique, targeted harm.

    And what I call that harm is misogynoir, that there's a way that anti-Black racism misogyny shows up and is uniquely targeting Megan, uniquely targeting Brittney Griner. And I think we could also add the other Meghan to the conversation, Meghan Markle, who also has been going through a lot of public vitriol directed her way.

    There is a way that we think that Black women are supposed to be strong and that they are supposed to just endure the violence and harmful language that's thrown at them. But we can see that, even with these three major celebrities, three Black women who are in positions of power, and have a lot of media in support of them in some ways, we're still seeing this impact of misogynoir.

    And I hope that it makes us think about Black women who are not in such privileged positions.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    And, during her testimony, Megan Thee Stallion said — quote — "Because I was shot, I have been turned into some kind of villain, and he's the victim. This has messed up my whole life."

    And, as you noted, you coined the term misogynoir, which is talking about misogyny aimed specifically at Black women. And can you explain the lasting impact on Megan's, as well as other Black women's lives, even in instances where they win their cases?

  • Moya Bailey:


    Well, I mean, I don't think that Megan has won in the court of public opinion. As you mentioned, there are rappers and other people who are saying that they still don't believe her.

    So, in that case, there's a lot of continuous negative publicity that's being associated with her, to the point where Megan herself even said that she'd considered ending her own life or wanting Tory to have actually killed her when — when he shot her.

    So I think that there's a real need to consider what the impact is for Black women beyond the outcomes of a legal case.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    Do you see the public responding differently to Black women when they come forward about their trauma and violence that they have faced vs. Black men or other women of color?

  • Moya Bailey:


    And I think we have seen this in the case of a lot of the extrajudicial killings that have happened in the past couple of years by police officers. There's been a lot of attention directed to Black men who've been gunned down by police, but there isn't the same attention given to Black women who have faced those same things.

    So, you might remember a hashtag called #sayhername that was really trying to bring attention to the number of Black women who have been killed, shot by police officers, because they don't garner the same movement attention in our communities that people have when it comes to Black men.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    And there's also been some Black backlash to — in recent years to the MeToo movement after it gained widespread national attention in 2017.

    Do you think that Megan Thee Stallion's case will change the way Black women who come forward about domestic abuse, about assault, about harassment are received?

  • Moya Bailey:


    I think it's another example of why women are actually very reluctant to come forward. For Black women who do come forward, there is this disbelief and this idea of, well, what are — what was she wearing? What was she doing? What is her sexual history?

    We have seen so much victim blaming both online and in the courtroom when it comes to Megan. So, I think it's actually going to be an impediment for a lot of women to feel comfortable coming forward, when this is how they're treated once they're in the spotlight.

  • Laura Barrón-López:

    Moya Bailey, thank you so much for joining us.

  • Moya Bailey:

    Thank you for having me.

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