The Los Angeles County district attorney has charged rapper Tory Lanez, real name Daystar Peterson, with assault with a semiautomatic firearm, personal use of a firearm, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. On July 12th, 2020, it was reported that Peterson had shot fellow rapper and cultural phenomenon Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Pete, but her account of the story did not become public until July 15th, when she confirmed she “…suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me…” via Instagram. She did not initially confirm that Peterson shot her, but various sources, including TMZ, confirmed his involvement.
Initial reports stated that police were called to respond to a fight outside of a house party in Hollywood Hills. It was reported that witnesses of the event heard people arguing in an SUV before hearing gunshots fired. When the police found the SUV in question, Pete, her friend, and Peterson were in the vehicle. Peterson was immediately arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle. It was initially believed that Pete was wounded by broken glass, but Pete’s Instagram post set the record straight, saying that she had to go to the hospital to have surgery to remove bullets from her foot.
Pete received a groundswell of social media support from her fans and many celebrities, including Beyoncé and Rihanna, who both sent well wishes via cards and bouquets. Despite the trauma Pete had to deal with because of this incident, many refused to believe Pete’s side of the story, drawing much criticism and once again bringing the discussion about violence against Black women to the forefront of public discourse. Pete’s story only intensified the “Protect Black Women” rallying cry that gained much traction following the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death by the police in a botched drug raid.
In a failed effort to discredit Pete, Peterson released an album entitled Daystar, in which he disparaged her, played the “two sides to every story” card. He talked down to multiple women who had come to her defense, including JoJo and Kehlani, both of which removed Peterson from their most recent albums. In response to the album release, Complex wrote a scathing review of his album and its toxicity. Highsnobiety took it a step further, vowing never to cover Peterson and his music again. If Peterson is convicted, he faces up to 22 years in prison. Meanwhile, as Megan Thee Stallion, Pete has continued to dominate the music scene while defending Black women in America. While dominating the music charts with her hit songs Savage and WAP, debuting on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest, and using her platform to speak out on important issues, she asserts that she will continue making music, empowering women, and fighting for what is right.