Tory Lanez is a special kind of terrible. Yesterday, after months of radio silence regarding his involvement in the shooting of rapper Megan Thee Stallion, Lanez made an announcement via Twitter.
Personally, I didn’t need to hear from him. I believed what Megan said about the incident to be true. He shot her, in an enclosed space, for no reason. And then to add insult to injury, allowed his public relations team to spread false narratives about the incident but never acknowledged his role and responsibility in abusing a Black woman.
His silence told me all I needed to know.
Still, I thought, after yesterday’s tweet, that perhaps there would be a statement, preferably an apology. I figured maybe after two months, he’d settled on a narrative to save his public image.
What we got instead was an album.
The day after we learned that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor would not face charges for her death, the last thing we needed was an album capitalizing off the pain of and trauma of a Black woman.
Last night, I saw that there were those who argued that Tory wasn’t exploiting this situation but simply sharing his side of the story through art.
But let’s call a thing a thing. This surprise album drop is a money-making scheme, an attempt to be painted favorably once again. And the only reason people would even consider listening to this project is because we believe it might shed some light on why the f*ck he pulled a gun on a Black woman.
If you don’t think streams and public perception are important to Tory Lanez, you need only look at his behavior over the past two months.
He was silent about Megan’s injuries, about her naming him as the shooter, about the night of the incident. But the second Forbes reported that his streaming numbers had declined, that’s when he popped out of the woodworks with something to say. Numbers and money are what fuel him right now.
But even worse than Tory releasing music to further profit from his violence, is the people rushing to listen, claiming we need to “hear both sides.”
I would like to take this time to point out that the ringleader in this charge to “hear Tory out” after Megan said what she said, was rapper TI. A man whose own laundry list of disrespect against the Black women in his household, could fill a tome.
On more than one occasion, I heard TI advocate for hearing Tory’s “side.” For the life of me, I can’t even fathom why he couldn’t take Megan’s word as fact. I can’t understand why he never used his platform and OG status in the industry to condemn violence against women—no matter what Tory had to say about shooting Megan.
Instead, before the album even dropped, TI went on record saying “Tory said it didn’t happen like that,” casting doubt on Megan’s story and suggesting that there could ever be an incidence where a man shooting an unarmed woman was acceptable.
Again, the day after Breonna Taylor’s murderers avoided all responsibility for the violence enacted against her.
TI likes to fashion himself as a type of activist and after the Breonna Taylor verdict was announced, he posted a meme that’s been going around, “Breonna, I’m so sorry. So Sorry that your neighbors’ walls received justice before you did.”
And after that, a tweet from LeBron James calling the Black woman the most disrespected person on earth and vowing to do his best to change that.
TI and all the other Black men who were hollering Protect Black women can save it.
Sadly, tragically and unjustly Breonna Taylor is gone. There is nothing we can do to protect her physical body any more. What we can do is protect the Black women who are still here. And Megan is alive and well. How can we even begin to believe that the Black community–men and women alike–will fight, protest, advocate and support Black women when folks couldn’t even commit to avoid an album release?
Everyone who streamed and listened to his project, puts forth the notion that there are “two sides,” or attempts to separate the artist from the art, then you’ve made your allegiances clear. Y’all care more about a music and lies dressed as “spilled tea” more than Black women.
Just say you only want to support Black women when it’s the popular thing to do. Because in this moment, we don’t have time for the fake niceities. Calling us queens and goddesses, vowing to protect and respect us, only to show your true colors, the very instant a Black man’s reputation and ability to make money is on the line, is just not enough. And Black women deserve better.
In addition to not taking accountability on the album, Tory went after other Black women, including Dream Doll and Kehlani, only to lift Kylie Jenner, a white woman, up on a pedestal, invoking Christ-like imagery, calling her a baby in a manger.
It’s no surprise that his disregard for Black women is coupled with the idolatry of a white one.
Now that the truth about R. Kelly has been exposed, people wonder how he was able to get away with it for so long. We’re witnessing it all over again. Music and messiness helps people forget. The story of Megan’s account gets taken less and less seriously as Tory’s music and message take center stage.
It shows the record companies, the community, and even Black women that their pain is secondary to the ability to make folks bob their heads. For those who need it spelled out clearly, support of Tory Lanez literally cosigns the mistreatment of Black women.
If an album was all it took for folks to jump ship and put money in Tory Lanez, an abuser’s pocket, then so be it. We know where you stand. It would have been easier to say you hate Black women and go but actions always speak louder than words.