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Megan Thee Stallion has always been divisive for me – having heard her freestyle raps and excellent lyrical skills, I’m always a bit underwhelmed when she releases music. Of course every successful artist who wants to sell music is a little at the mercy of whatever is working at the time, and maybe this is what influences Megan, but her music just never, for me anyway, seems to show her at her talented best. That being said, I have always admired Megan for treading her own path and not being afraid of criticism. Releasing a song called ‘WAP’ (we all know what it is by now I’m not going to spell it out) was always going to split opinions and cause reaction, but whilst some people saw a crude and explicit song with an equally crude and explicit video, some also saw a powerful play about women’s body autonomy, feminism and equality. After all, how many songs do we hear on the radio, and not bat an eyelid at, from men who discuss women in the same way – why shouldn’t the women be able to take charge of it?
Anyway, this wasn’t intended to be an article on feminism, and the point that I am making is that you can say what you want about Megan, but sometimes you just have to admire her. And I count myself in this, although her music isn’t really to my taste ,I do appreciate and understand what she’s doing, and I respect that she is an important player in the music industry game right now.
However, what I respect even more than that is her attitude towards mental health.
Rap has always had a tough exterior and this has often included the artists. Before Drake came along and changed the game, talking about any sort of emotion was often seen as a weakness and only those at the top (Biggie being a prime example) could do it and keep their respect. It would be easy for Megan, therefore, to lean into her ‘Bad Bitch’ persona and act like she hasn’t got problems, difficulties or challenges. Although times are changing, there’s an argument that it may have even helped her music and career to do so.
Despite all of this, Megan has recently announced a new website initiative for her fans called ‘Bad Bitches Have Bad Days Too’, a lyric borrowed from her song ‘Anxiety’. Firstly, I love the title and I think it sets the tone so well. It’s so simple yet sends such a strong message to all of her fans. Not only does it reassure her fans that mental health issues don't make you any less of a ‘Bad Bitch’, it also suggests to the fans that idolise her that she too goes through what they go through, and actually that they’re all in it together. I think it’s so intelligent of her to lean into her ‘Bad Bitch’ persona in this way, owning the phrase and driving the message that tough times don’t define you, you can still be what you are, who you want or how you want to be.
The website is extremely simple and crisp but is laid out very effectively. The idea is to be a hub for mental health for her fan group, and I think that is exactly what she has achieved. Scrolling down through the site shows you various links to therapy platforms, articles, research, contacts and helplines. She also gives a specific focus to the LGBTQIA+ and black communities with numbers and links to hot-lines that are run specifically for people in these demographics. The site also contains a few quotes and a triumphant picture of Megan at the bottom looking as if to be somewhere between a scream and a roar – again, another really simple touch, but it just backs this message that you can be powerful and still have a hard time.
So, although musically Megan isn’t my favourite artist, she has always had my respect, and she’s earned it even more so now. This isn’t the first time Megan has spoken about mental health by a long stretch, and she has always been somewhat of an ambassador, but I love to see her really take a lead as an artist and pioneering something so simple yet so effective for her fans is really incredible. Whilst helping through all the resources provided on the actual site, the message it sends shouldn’t be underestimated and really encourages her fans to open up. I also think that being a role model for so many women, and particularly young women, Megan taking a stance on this offers real hope and empowerment. Not only is this a strong woman opening up about her mental health, she’s also telling all those that look up to her that it is okay. Often, when we see people in the limelight, we end up with such a refined and rehearsed image that when we try to emulate our role models it’s impossible for us. Megan’s message handles this perfectly, admitting her struggles but simultaneously stating that this doesn’t make her any less of the ‘Bad Bitch’ anyone thought she was. Think what you like about Megan, but no one can deny the importance of what she is doing.
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