This last week, I was thinking about the emergence of up-and-coming Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion and I wanted to write a piece on the importance of her rise, Bronx rapper Cardi B and the new wave woman’s empowerment movement. I wanted to look back at the last decade of hip-hop culture and how women have been virtually voiceless on a national scale. I wanted to think about my and societies relationship with Nicki Minaj because her career in rap for this last decade has been disappointing but wonder if she failed us or if we failed her.
But I couldn’t find the proper words. I don’t know if it’s because I’m coming off of the flu or if it’s because of life’s hurdles but what I was writing wasn’t it. While thinking about scrapping the idea and moving onto something else, I stumbled on the news that a few days ago Megan’s mother, Holly Thomas, suddenly passed away. Then the words that I’d written didn’t matter anymore.
Watching someone lose a parent at a young age is difficult. A lot of the times, you don’t know what to say or how to act. You want to take away the pain they feel, so you try to momentarily take their minds off of things but you don’t realize that once that fleeting moment is gone, that person has to live with the depression again all on their own. Particularly for men, we try to become a savior in ways that are not necessarily needed or beneficial. For me, I’ve tried to balance what I can do verses what I should do but the line is thin between being there in meaningful ways and being in the way.
Over the last year and a half, I watched someone that I love dearly lose their mother. The burden they had to carry was tremendous and I know their feeling of hopelessness and depression lapped mine tenfold. In the beginning, we had a hard conversations about how I wasn’t being there for them in productive ways and I had to re-evaluate how I was approaching them. I was failing by trying to empathize with the pain but I had to learn that if I hadn’t truly experienced the traumatic event, I wouldn’t be able to show genuine empathy. I had to develop skills in sympathy, understanding and patience.
A few weeks ago, a friend approached me about dealing with individuals that had post-traumatic stress disorder and how I needed to have a true understanding that it was not my obligation to take that person’s pain away. There is a level of difficulty in accepting that my presence can be a burden but I had to except that I can only be someone that’s supportive, even if that meant getting out of the way.
For Megan, I cannot begin to imagine the burden she is carrying now but she does have my deepest condolences. I consider myself a fan of her music and I see the symbol of everything that she has the potential to become. It is, however, selfish of me to think of a music career right now. So, I wish the woman, Megan Pete, can find understanding in loss and the strength to work through her depression. I hope her family and friends can have true compassion to help her through his incredibly difficult time.
This young woman deserves to have a meaningful, fulfilling life but I pray that she can find a path for herself that will allow her to achieve it, whether she drops another song or not.