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By now, everyone should know that there’s nothing funny about other people’s pain.

Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez are known to be good friends who have a lot of fun. So when it was reported in the early hours of the 11th of July that they were involved in a shooting after hanging out with Kylie Jenner, many people were shocked. Naturally, there were worries about Tory, Megan, and Megan’s friend’s safety. These worries were not unfounded as we lost  Pop Smoke to gun violence earlier this year.

But as the case developed the jokes started flying. People started wondering about the ‘real’ status of Tory and Megan’s relationship and if they are more than friends. The teasing was so bad that Megan had to release a statement on her Instagram giving some insight into what happened that night and ending on the note that she’s just grateful to be alive.  This gives some context as to how social media truly fails to take things seriously. Our ability to make light of grave situation is heart-lifting at times. This is not one of those times.

Social media is a shifting tableau that gives legitimacy to many ideas and content. Despite the many well wishes that came Megan’s way due to her injuries, there were still too many jokes and lighthearted banter around the matter. This is what gave Draya Michele (a reality tv personality and Instagram influencer) the ease of comfort to suggest that Tory and Megan are probably more than friends and that it was a Bobby and Whitney situation. Where to start? Is it the raucous laughter that followed after Draya made that statement? Is it that the hosts of the podcasts immediately acknowledged that Draya would go viral for this? And inferring that it would not be in a good way? 

Many people are rightfully upset about Draya’s comments and about her making light of a very serious situation. But Draya is only one person in a landscape that encourages society at large to not take black women’s pain seriously. We see Megan as a beautiful, strong, and tongue in cheek sex symbol. And unfortunately, that’s all people want her to be. They refuse to see her as a vulnerable person, very capable of being hurt or taken advantage of like anyone else. This is especially saddening considering the loss Megan has experienced in her life starting from the age of 15 with her father’s death and with her mother and her grandmother’s death most recently last year. Megan was so angry that she did something extremely out of character for her- she called Draya out on twitter.

That being said, there’s another layer to unpeel here. The Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston relationship that’s often been romanticized as ‘crazy love’. I will say this once: idolizing and venerating an abusive and dangerous relationship is disrespectful and callous to the women who are no longer here because of them or who continue to suffer because of them. Relating love to abuse is dangerous and considering the high rates of intimate partner violence that black women experience, it was beyond stupid and shows that Draya does not think before she speaks.
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All of this is against the backdrop of Kanye West’s downward spiral as he continues to grapple with his mental health. Between his failed rally and the disparaging tweets he made about his wife and family, it has not been a good time in the West household. But the response to Kanye has been markedly different. There have been no jokes about what he is going through. Only prayers and serious concern. Those who were brave enough to try and find the humor in the situation were rightfully shot down and admonished. Despite the worry that everyone feels for Kanye, it is a good sign that people are beginning to see how serious mental health is and why it should be treated with empathy and respect. It’s amazing how we’ve decided to hold space for Kanye, regardless of how he’s hurt people and in the same breath give free rein to mock Megan Thee Stallion’s situation. Both circumstances deserve our respect and empathy. But only one has. We need to ask ourselves why that is. Trauma is never something to laugh at.

There’s nothing funny about other people’s pain.

By: Yoruba Mermaid

See also: Can The Real Tiwa Savage Please Stand Up

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