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Megan’s Rule: Being exceptional doesn’t make you the exception

todayMarch 17, 2023

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    Megan’s Rule: Being exceptional doesn’t make you the exception NPR

Megan Thee Stallion. Amanda Howell Whitehurst for NPR

In December 2022, one of the biggest trials of the year unfolded in LA. Tory Lanez was facing more than 20 years in prison on charges of shooting fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and the internet was intensely divided: You were either pro-Tory or pro-Megan, and there was nothing else to say about it.

Tory was found guilty of assaulting Megan and now awaits sentencing. But the words of Megan’s tearful testimony and what is now her almost three-year fight to be believed is somehow still a subject of debate in the culture. And no matter how you saw the case, the rifts online reveal how deep those tensions run in hip-hop. We are left with so many questions: Has the culture really changed? Is this verdict really a resolution? What will it take to make Black women feel safer in hip-hop? What is clear is that the force being weaponized in the courtroom was the same thing that fueled all of the online hatred: Misogynoir, or the sexist prejudice that Black women and people read as Black women face.

In this episode, the first of our new season, we read between the lines and lies of hip-hop’s most divisive trial to date with Louder Than A Riot‘s Senior Producer Gabby Bulgarelli and examine the roots of rap’s misogynoir with the creator of the term, sociologist Moya Bailey. Although this isn’t the first time a Black woman in hip-hop has spoken out about abuse, Megan’s day on the stand revealed the level of mistreatment Black women must endure in hip-hop — and in America.

At this point, Bailey says, “If you’re denying misogynoir, then you’re just denying reality.” The reality is that hip-hop has been denying misogynoir for 50 years. And now is the time to have that conversation.

This season on Louder Than A Riot we’re looking into the unwritten rules of rap that are holding the culture back. Click here to read more from hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden on how the double standard became hip-hop’s standard.

To follow along with the music in this episode, check out the Louder Than A Riot playlists on Apple Music & Spotify. We’ll update them every week.

To connect with us, follow the show on Twitter @LouderThanARiot, or send us an email at [email protected].

  • Audio story produced by Gabby Bulgarelli
  • Audio story edited by Soraya Shockley and Sam J. Leeds
  • Additional reporting by Sam J. Leeds
  • Audio story engineered by Gilly Moon
  • Podcast theme and original music by Suzi Analogue, Kassa Overall and Ramtin Arablouei
  • Fact checking by Jane Gilvin
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Written by: NPR

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