A few weeks ago, rapper Megan Thee Stallion (Megan Pete) was shot in the foot after an argument with rapper Tory Lanez (Daystar Peterson). The internet immediately reacted with simultaneous concern and jokes, many of which seemed to be aimed at Lanez' height. A few celebrities made jokes as well, such as reality star, Draya Michele, who quickly apologized after saying "I want you to like me so much that you shoot me in the foot too."
Megan Thee Stallion reacted to all the jokes with a post on Twitter that read: "Black woman are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own. It might be funny to ya'll on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I'm real life hurt and traumatized."
The Megan Thee Stallion shooting and the reaction on the internet reminds us how creatives, as they become more famous and more of their work is consumed by the masses, are often treated less sympathetically than others. I can't imagine that most people on the internet would joke about their neighbor getting shot in the foot but with Megan, it became a joke. This sort of unsympathetic reaction to celebrity problems is common and I wrote about it last week when talking about Kanye and his apparent mental breakdown. Some have opined that people have taken this less seriously because Megan Thee Stallion is a Black woman and trauma affecting Black women is often overlooked or trivialized, which is a true statement. It also seems, though, that as artists/writers/musicians become more famous, they are consumed as much as their art. They almost become their art.
What becomes interesting is later on, is that it becomes difficult to separate the creative (the human) from their creativity (their work). The other day someone posted about how they now struggle to listen to R. Kelly's music because of the singer's litany of charges, including sexual assault. Likewise, fans of Harry Potter have lamented J.K. Rowling's recent comments on trans people, one (Megan Rienks) tweeting (in part): "please stop. this is so damaging and heartbreaking as a harry potter fan..." It seems our appreciation of the art is colored by our view of the artist, for good or for ill. And perhaps for Megan Thee Stallion and other celebrities, some are seeing her entire life as the entertainment, not just her music.