MEGAN THEE STALLION
Megan at SXSW 2019, Photos: © Jason Gross
Her Name and Persona Is an Open Love Letter to Women and Southern Swag Belle
Part II By Tamara D. Hill, PhD
See Part I of our Megan Thee Stallion article
For Megan, 2019 was an eventful and yet traumatizing year for her. It was so unfortunate because she lost her mother, mentor and manager Holly Thomas that March to brain cancer. Thomas had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that that was not curable and despite her diagnosis, pushed Megan to continuing performing and pursuing her career in the Hip Hop industry. To add more pain, her great-grandmother had passed away only two weeks before her mother. Both women were a tremendous loss for Megan Thee Stallion but in spite of their transitions, her determination and Southern swag rang true. When asked how she was dealing with such tragic blows, her response was, "You've got to take care of you. Because who else is going to take care of you?" Megan mused about self-care in the interview. "At this point of my life, I really realized that my mama was really driving the car for a long time," according to Defender News Service. But then again, it was because of her grit and confidence in herself and music that ensured that her single "Big Ole Freak "make it to the Billboard Hot 100 at number 99 on April 15, which became her first chart entry. In addition to this feat, she was still enrolled in Texas Southern University as a student and completing classes online, tasks that were momentous in nature but she was resolved to complete them. Agreeing with this notion, the Megan Thee Stallion Biography.com webpage substantiates:This work ethic paid off. Megan released Fever in May 2019, which reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200. On Twitter, she came up the term "Hot Girl Summer," which led to a song of the same name featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. The tune went platinum and dominated the summer of 2019. "Hot Girl Summer" turned into such a popular phrase that Megan trademarked it.She continued making progress in the music industry because on June 20th of that same year, she was named one of the eleven artists by XXL's Freshman Class in its 12th edition. She also began working with artist like Chance the Rapper who released his studio album titled The Big Day released on July 26, 2019 where she was a feature on the track from his album, titled, "Handsome." Then the comedic show on HBO known as A Black Lady Sketch Show used her single called "Hot Girl." Shardae White, author of A Black Lady Sketch Show' Shatters Stereotypes and Builds Bridges explains, "The show's opening theme even features "Hot Girl" by Megan Thee Stallion, who skyrocketed to mainstream recognition this year with her songs "Big Ole Freak," "Cash S***," and the #hotgirlsummer mantra that decorated social media timelines everywhere." By the fall of that same year, she had been named in the legendary Time magazine for their "Time 100 Next List" and had even starred in a horror series titled, Hottietween. Most importantly, she was able to sign with Roc Nation which became her management team.
If the first part of Megan's open letter examines her southern roots, writing her own lyrics in a little folder, going to college and signing a record deal then losing the two most beloved women in her life while continuing to move forward in her career, then she is exactly what Southern women or girls are made of, which is "determination, resilience and brown sugar." Then the second part of it brings us to finishing her studies at Texas Southern University in December of 2021 with her earning a BA in Health Administration.
But 2020 gave Megan her phenomenal career boost before graduating that kept her Texas size ambition aiming for the stardom. Megan even tried out for Love and Hip Hop, the series where the world was introduced to her fellow rapper Cardi B, but was rejected to join the cast. In the face of this rejection and her audition tape for Love and Hip Hop eventually landing on the Wendy Williams show, when she became that "hot girl." Even the gossip queen talk show host had previously endorsed that Megan was destined to be as as big as the state of Texas. To clarify this point, in January of that year she released her single "Diamonds for the Birds of Prey" film with fellow artist, Normani. Both artists confirmed that the hell-raising comic book character Harley Quinn inspired their collaboration. Then in February she made an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show and by March, she intended to announce the debut of her album, Suga, but it was delayed due to contract negotiations with her label 1501 Certified. It was also public knowledge that things between Megan and the label became so awkward and bad that she coined the hashtag, #FreetheStallion.
On March 6, 2020, she released Suga against her label's wishes but she able to give us all Savage. Taken from the Story of Song website, "Savage" is the second track from American rapper Megan the Stallion (Megan Pete) and her EP Suga. It is Stallion's most successful song-primarily due to the song viral on the entertainment app Tik Tok, leading users to create a dance to the track. "Savage" is a trap-rap song about being a strong and empowered woman and not needing a man to be happy. As a result of the song becoming a profound and precise dance challenge on Tik Tok, it obtained 15.7 million views and 2.4 million by March 20, 2020. This was way before Queen Bee aka Beyonce Knowles was added to the remixed version by April 29, 2020. It was because of "Savage" that made the Suga EP go to number 7 on the Billboard 200 and eventually became her first chart topper. The video version of the hit is a cartoon version of the girl that actually created the dance challenge known as "Keara Wilson, a 21-year old dancer from Ohio," confirms on Tik Tok. With her favorite red lipstick while she is exaggerating the word "ah" with her mouth wide open as one of her sexy characteristics attributed to the stallion moniker, she vehemently spits:I'm that bitch (yeah)Megan makes a reference to being the "hood Mona Lisa." In art history, the "Mona Lisa" is a painting that is considered to be one the valuable masterpieces in the world that was created by the renowned painter, engineer and sculptor Leonardo Da Vinci from the Italian Renaissance. Art historians note that the "Mona Lisa" the "most visited, most parodied and sung about" artworks in the world.
Been that bitch, still that bitch (ah)
Will forever be that bitch (forever be that bitch)
Yeah (ayy, ha)
I'm the hood Mona Lisa, break a nigga into pieces
Had to X some cheesy niggas out my circle like a pizza (yeah)
I'm way too exclusive, I don't shop on Insta' boutiques
All them lil' ass clothes only fit fake booties
Bad bitch, still talking cash shit
Pussy like water, I'm unbothered and relaxing
I would never trip on a nigga if I had him
Bitch, that's my trash, you the maid, so you bagged him, ah.
If this is the visual you take from the song, Megan is essentially telling the world that not only does she have value as a beautiful Texas bred Southern female hip hop artist but as also as a Black woman who will be "most parodied, sung about, revered" empowered and sexually fierce lyricist of her time with a touch of "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn attitude. She absolutely gives no f---ks and if she had a man, he served his purpose and the next chick can have her left over trash. Make no mistake, in this part of her "letter," Megan has recognized that "some men not all" are just no damn good and she does as she pleases, without apology or justification to anyone for her behavior. Conversely and what most people do not know is that the "proceeds from her remix with Beyonce went to benefit Houston's nonprofit Bread for Life organization," according to news station KHOU*11. They are an organization that assisted people with disaster relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is just the beginning of Megan's love for her hometown, community and the desire to want to take care of others, especially Black women and her Southern Swag Belles.
That same year was not without its multiple accolades for Megan either because she was nominated for Top Rap Female Artist, and was the most nominated artist tying with Justin Beiber at the 2020 People's Awards, became a Global Brand Ambassador for Revlon and was then featured in the Time Most 100 Influential People List. In addition, she received 8 BET Nominations.
But, June of that year would prove to be even more triumphant for her and her empowerment stance for women being in control of their sexuality and free agency because of her collaboration with Cardi B for "W.A.P." released on August 7, 2020 aka "Wet Ass Pussy." And no, like some people want to believe it DOES not and I repeat, does not stand for "Worship and Praise" either. The Story of Song website cites, "WAP samples American DJ Frank Ski's 1993 Baltimore club single "Whores in This House," which also opens the song. The track details how both Cardi B and Stallion wished to be pleased." The song was an immediate hit because it had 26 million viewers who watched the video when it was released and had acquired 93 million streams in its first week. While the song received tons of both criticism and praise, it was to be expected because the music rap industry seems to be hypocritical of women and especially those of color who have the audacity to be ferociously honest about their sexuality and who stand in their truth in their video depictions or lyrics. In response to men's insecurity about women taking control of their sexuality and the criticism W.A.P. received, Megan candidly expresses to Jared Alexander:Some people just don't know what to do when a woman is in control and taking ownership of her own body," she explained. "I feel like for a long time, men felt like they owned sex, and now women are saying, 'Hey, this is for me. I want pleasure. This is how I want it or don't want it,' it freaks men the hell out." Speaking of "WAP" specifically, she said, "just comes from a place of fear and insecurity, like why would anyone be mad about my WAP? It belongs to me."Men in the Hip Hop industry, no matter what ethnicity, may be have been "rapping" about the same types of sexual conquests that Megan Thee Stallion and/or the amount of women that give them sexual pleasure at a moment's notice and no one condemns their choice of lyrics and or video depictions. They are in control of their sexuality no matter how women they "run through" in a night as detailed in their lyrics and are brazen about how women serve them "hot sex" on a silver platter while indulging them in their fetishes, and still no one censures them because it is their "art and personal narratives" as a lyrical thesis.
In the sexually explicit video directed by Colin Tilley, both Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are dressed in tight fitting outfits, that are yellow and pink with "hood" updos which is a nod early hairstyles of Brown and Black women in the 1990's. The video opens with the camera panning to a mobile statue water fountain with two women who are completely nude who could be both Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion in silver body paint with updos and their hands on their knees spouting water. Then their breasts are exposed in a "uplifting" manner as they strut down the long hallway, with gold women's asses and breasts that are gushing out water all over the walls. Megan does her famous "ah" facial expression by licking out her tongue with two fingers on her face before they enter the room with the solid gold snake door knocker where they both lay on the floor where multitudes of venomous snakes cover their bodies as they lay casually in their swimsuits. Franski's beat has a thunderous boom in the backdrop and all you hear is, "there's some hoes in the house." As they lay on the floor, both women are making sexual gestures towards one another as the snakes pay them no mind and continue to slither and slide up and between their legs.
In contrast, if you analyze this particular scene from a biblical perspective, the snake or "serpent" was the one temptation that Eve could not resist because she ate the fruit or apple from the Tree of Life after God told her not to, hence, men cannot resist the WAP of Megan The Stallion and Cardi B. My mother would be proud that I paid attention sometimes in Sunday school to at least this particular story. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent made Eve believe that nothing would happen if she ate the fruit from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil," and thus she encouraged Adam to do the same and once they both disobeyed God, their innocence was lost and their lives were changed forever. And so, Megan's and Cardi's WAP, or vaginas, are tempting just like the serpent to men because there are wet, gushy and if they want to "taste of the fruit," between their voluptuous legs, then they must accept they are sexually dominant and in any other facet of their lives, not vice versa. To exemplify this notion, Cardi B illuminates that she did not do what was expected of woman to get a husband because she says:I want you to park that big Mack truck right in this little garageShe tells the world that it was her WAP that got her a husband, "not cooking and cleaning," followed by Megan's lascivious lyrics describing how her WAP will perform based on the instructions she tales the man who will experience her "forbidden fruit:"
Make it cream, make me scream
Out in public, make a scene
I don't cook, I don't clean
But let me tell you, I got this ring (ayy, ayy)Gobble me, swallow me, drip down the side of me (yeah)Between the old school beat, the lustful lyrics and the cameo appearances in the video by Latto, Sukihana, Rubi Rose, Normani and Rosalia, it is no wonder that it broke the record for an all-female 24 hour debut in the world. Megan is sexually aggressive and does not mind letting anyone know that she will not be subdued or domicile in the bedroom.
Quick, jump out 'fore you let it get inside of me (yeah)
I tell him where to put it, never tell him where I'm 'bout to be
I run down on him 'fore I have a nigga running me
Talk yo' shit, bite your lip
Ask for a car while you ride that dick (while you ride that dick)
You ain't never gotta fuck him for a thing
He already made his mind up 'fore he came.
By the next year, 2021, Megan was a Grammy winner. To provide an accurate record of her Grammy nominations and wins, CapitalFM reported in 2021:Megan Thee Stallion... was nominated for a whopping four GRAMMYs, making her one of the most nominated artists of the year. Here's what she was nominated for and what she won:Megan had achieved the acclaim of her peers and the music industry, a feat in her own words was flabbergasting because of all things she had endured from writing lyrics at early age to losing the two most important women in her life. What is more, even with all that she has accomplished in such a short amount of time, she highly respects her female peers in the Hip Hop game and does not believe in degrading or "taking shots" at them because that is not her personality nor does the serve the good of women of color who are rappers and who are competing in the same industry as she is for that top spot. In fact, Megan supports other female rappers and thinks that there is enough space as big as "Texas" for anyone in the rap game.
She performed her biggest song of the year at the Grammys, 'Savage." After winning Best Rap performance for 'Savage," she said in her speech-after screaming in shock for a few good moments: "I still can't even believe this, what me!?"
- WINNER: New Artist
- WINNER: Rap Song - Savage remix
- WINNER: Rap Performance - Savage remix
- Record of the Year - Savage remix
The final part of her love letter is about her community activism where Megan has used her platform to speak out against police brutality for the Black Lives Matter Movement, racism and why it is important to protect Black women. It has been noted by music scholars that even when she performed her hit "Savage" on Saturday Night Live for its 46th season premier that it was a "politically charged version" that dissected the aforementioned issues that were plaguing the nation and continue to do so today. Grammy-winning author, John Ochoa in his interview titled, "Megan Thee Stallion Says The Nationwide Black Lives Matter Protests Are "Part Two Of the Civil Rights Movement" (2020) provides her response to police brutality and how she sees Black women when he asserted:Megan has learned how to use her platform to effect change because over the past few weeks, Megan has remained vocal about the heated sociopolitical state of the U.S. She's recently taken to social media to demand justice for George Floyd and has called for the arrest of the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor. "Sometimes being a public figure," she told NME, "you don't wanna say the wrong thing because you don't want to be insensitive to people or get too opinionated. But I will always say what I feel. I don't speak on things that I don't know about, and I won't speak on things I don't believe in.From that juncture in the interview, Megan is asked about Black women, how they are stereotyped and how they maneuver in a world that disrespects them and her response is truly Southern bred and a reality for Black women everywhere because she was raised by strong women both her mother and grandmother who influenced her life. With insight and fierce love for Black women, she said testified:Let me tell you, Black women are strong. Megan, who cites her late mother, grandmother and all other "really good examples of women in my life" as role models, told NME. "We can be going through whatever and still put on a good face. I know there are times that my mother might have been going through things but I never knew, because she wanted me to feel safe and okay."In the last parting words of her love letter to women and her fellow Southern Swag Belles, what we hear and see Megan Thee Stallion acknowledging in it, is to be empowered, sexually and emotionally, be unapologetic, be a voice against injustice and most of all, stand in your truth and for those that do not like it, "remember you are that b$%^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Alexander, Jared. "Megan The Stallion explains why men can't handle 'WAP' lyrics." 23 December 2020.
Biography "Megan Thee Stallion is a Grammy-winning rapper best known for songs such as "Savage," "WAP" and "Hot Girl Summer."" 19 October 2021. https://www.biography.com/musicians/megan-thee-stallion, 7 May 2023.
Boyd, Jared. "These are the women in Southern Hip-Hop You Should Know." Jul. 14, 2017 https://www.al.com/entertainment/2017/07/women_in_southern_hip-hop_you.html. AL.COM, Accessed 5 May 2023.
Capital FM "Megan Thee Stallion Grammy Wins, Performances And Everything You Might've Missed." March 15 2021, https://www.capitalfm.com/features/megan-thee-stallion-2021-grammy-performance-award/ 12 May 2023.
Capital XTRA "Who is Tina Snow? Megan Thee Stallion's Alter Ego Explained." 1 April 2021. https://www.capitalxtra.com/artists/megan-thee-stallion/news/who-is-tina-snow-alter-ego-explained/, Accessed 7 May 2023.
Cardi B. "WAP (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)" (YouTube, August 2020)
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KHOU "Proceeds from Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion's new collab go to Houston's Bread of Life." https://www.khou.com/video/news/health/coronavirus/proceeds-from-beyonce-megan-thee-stallions-new-collab-go-to-houstons-bread-of-life/285-23c6a9fd-1f9e-4790-b1d6-8cfa3ac2c4bb, Accessed 9 May 2023.
Frey, H. William. A 'New Great Migration' is bringing Black Americans back to the South. September 12, 2012. https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-new-great-migration-is-bringing-black-americans-back-to-the-south/#:~:text=The%20reversal%20of%20the%20Great,and%20western%20places%20of%20origin, Brookings, Accessed 5 May 2023.
The Kennedy Center. "Hip Hop: A Culture of Vision and Voice" https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/resources-for-educators/classroom-resources/media-and-interactives/media/hip-hop/hip-hop-a-culture-of-vision-and-voice/#:~:text=It%20was%20the%20early%201970s,imagination—Hip%20Hop%20took%20form.&text=DJ%20Kool%20Herc%20is%20credited,an%20August%201973%20dance%20bash. Accessed 5 May 2023.
LyricFind. Megan Thee Stallion. "Big Ole Freak." Songwriters:Songwriters: Marquis X. Dair / Mason Julian Martrel / Megan Pete. Big Ole Freak lyrics @copy; Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group.
Ochoa, John. "Megan Thee Stallion Says the Nationwide Black Lives Matter Protests Are "Part Two of the Civil Rights Movement." 3 July 2020. https://www.grammy.com/news/megan-thee-stallion-says-nationwide-black-lives-matter-protests-are-part-two-civil. Grammy.com. Accessed 10 May 2023.
Story of Song, "Megan Thee Stallion." https://storyofsong.com/story/savage/ Accessed 7 May 2023
Story of Song "WAP(featuring Megan Thee Stallion)." https://storyofsong.com/story/wap-feat-megan-thee-stallion/ Accessed 10 May 2023.
Rian, Anthony. "Megan Thee Stallion - "Tina Snow" (Album)" July 18, 2018 https://www.thehypemagazine.com/2018/07/megan-thee-stallion-tina-snow-album/, The Hype. Accessed 7 May 2023.
Texas Southern University, "Mission and Vision," https://www.tsu.edu/about/mission-vision. Accessed 7 May 2023.
WhoSampled https://www.whosampled.com/sample/581684/Megan-Thee-Stallion-Big-Ole-Freak-Immature-Is-It-Love-This-Time%3F/#:~:text=Megan%20Thee%20Stallion's%20'Big%20Ole,'%20%7C%20. Accessed 7 May 2023.
Walters, Meg. "The Stunning Transformation Of Megan Thee Stallion." April 29, 2021 https://www.thelist.com/234547/the-stunning-transformation-of-megan-thee-stallion/. Accessed 9 May 2023.
White, Shardae. "'A Black Lady Sketch Show' shatters stereotypes and builds bridges." October 1, 2019. https://www.ntdaily.com/a-black-lady-sketch-show-shatters-stereotypes-and-builds-bridges/ Accessed 7 May 2023.
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