It seems like Black women aren’t allowed vulnerability. That is what it means to be a 'Strong Black Woman', after all. Because when Black women speak out, or can no longer carry the pain that society has placed upon us, we are shamed for it.
In some cases, we are harassed. Even when tragedy strikes Black women in our community (for instance, the murders of Breonna Taylor and Oluwatoyin Salau) and we temporarily hear phrases like ‘Protect Black Women’, they are usually hypocritical. Because when Black women decide to speak up, the community turns away from them.
This is the story of Mehgan Markle and Megan Thee Stallion, and as chilling as their experiences of abuse and racism are, this is the reality Black women face when they speak out about both societal and intra community violence.
When I first saw Meghan Markle come out about the racism she had faced by the Royal Family and British Press, I was saddened but not surprised. And after reading various interviews and articles from both Harry and Meghan that detailed the mental health strain it had on Meghan, I was appalled at how long she held it in and kept a happy face. Even among the first waves of harassment, Meghan remained strong, and I wondered why she had stayed quiet for so long.
Yet, when the most vitriolic campaigns of hatred started after she came forth about all the abuse she’d faced, I understood why. Megan even spoke of wanting to end her own life, due to the racism and harassment. With her being open, in addition to the release of the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, it seems as if that harassment has only gotten worse.
Similar to Meghan Markle, Megan Thee Stallion has faced her own trials since coming forward about the alleged shooting by Tory Lanez, even mentioning how she wished to end her life due to the violence she faced after speaking out. Megan’s case sheds a unique yet complicated light on intra community violence in the Black community. Black women face high levels of abuse and domestic violence from Black men but many times, are shamed into silence. Even Megan herself said that she did not speak out because ‘No one believes women’.
Megan’s vulnerability, and her bravery in taking the stand against not just her abuser, but unfortunately her community has branded her an enemy. Even big names in the industry are turning against her - many of them Black men.
Both cases of Meghan Markle and Megan Thee Stallion have painted a very clear picture of the reality Black women face. As Meghan’s documentary has been released, some have accused her of wanting attention and as Megan Thee Stallion speaks out in court, multiple people are accusing her of lying.
Despite in the past hearing pleas from my community to ‘protect’ Black women, and to allow us to be vulnerable, we are seeing how things play out when Black women choose themselves over violence and abuse. Whether it be from inside the community or outside, as Black women we are constantly reminded that from the most famous to the everyday women in our community, we are not truly safe.
Until the world learns what it means to ‘protect Black women’, Megan Thee Stallion and Meghan Markle are just the beginning.