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Yes, we know it’s only Tuesday, and therefore likely a little early to declare a highlight of the week—but also we’re pretty sure the rare occasion of witnessing two of our favorite women in a conversation about protecting and uplifting Black women is worth the preemptive honor.
As Black History Month ends, Women’s History Month soon begins, making a virtual meeting between a rising hip-hop star and an American political icon (who are not Cardi B and Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden) especially well-timed. Harper’s Bazaar had the good fortune of arranging an interview between Megan Thee Stallion and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Shoutout to features director and fellow dope Black woman Kaitlyn Greenidge, who moderated this landmark discussion, an exchange that began with Waters’ letter of encouragement following Meg’s op-ed for the New York Times last October, titled “Why I Speak Up for Black Women.”
“I can’t thank you enough for bringing much needed attention to the plight of Black women, not just here in the United States—but everywhere,” Waters wrote, later adding, “While we are too often overlooked, there is no doubt that Black women are a glue for our families and communities, and a crucial part of the fabric of this country.”
“I hope that during these trying times you take comfort in knowing that I am fighting for you, and all Black women, every single day,” Waters concluded. “We need your voice in this fight.”
The virtual meeting between the Grammy-nominated, 26-year-old rapper and student and the 82-year-old political powerhouse was equally warm—and affirming.
“Just to receive any type of recognition from the wonderful Ms. Waters, it really blew my mind,” said Megan (h/t Bazaar). “Because I know that, me being a young Black woman in my generation, the things that I fight for, the things that I talk about every day, it seems new for us because we’re just now going through it. But to be recognized by a woman that has always spoken out about these issues and has always been an advocate for Black women and just the whole Black community, I felt overwhelmed. I felt seen.
“I just felt very appreciative. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing something new,” she continued. “It’s hard to feel like I’m speaking about something for the first time because I’ve never done it before. And I’m seeing the things that people are saying to me and how some people may not agree with what I’m saying. They feel like it’s controversial and all I’m saying is, ‘protect Black women’. And now people are taking it like I’m saying something crazy. So, just to be supported by another Black woman who sends the same message, I feel like, ‘You know what? I am doing the right thing and I’m going to keep doing it, because Maxine Waters said I can.’”
As always, Waters had sage wisdom to share. “I want you to know that when you speak of yourself and you say maybe people think you’re being too controversial, pay that no attention,” she responded. “What it means is you have confidence, and not only do you have confidence, you’re smart and you know how to manage yourself, your life and what you want to do. For some people who don’t have courage and don’t have confidence, they don’t understand it when they see it in other people. So you should be proud of who you are. And I know you are. And not only your talent, but your person, what do you care about? And what is it you’re doing that is not only good for you, but it’s good for others.”
Waters also dispelled any notion that role models must come wrapped in respectability, holding the door wide open for a Black feminist vision that includes hot girls and anyone else who cares to enter.
“We have people who address the issues in different ways,” she noted. “We have people certainly who have different thoughts, things that we don’t even think about or know about. We have people who dress differently and we have people who don’t accept tradition. We have to respect that. We have to take people where they are...
“When I see someone and I’m talking with them, I’m looking at them and I’m listening to them. I don’t care what they have on,” she later added. “I don’t care about anything else, but what this person is expressing. And I’m not judging them on anything else except what they’re sharing with me. For me, that is the way that you connect with others. That is the way you build community. That is where you get trust. And that is where you come to other people’s aid.”
You can watch the rest of what happened when Meg met Maxine below.