Aside from the impending release of her official debut album, Megan Thee Stallion has something else to celebrate — being named GQ’s Rapper of Year. The honor adds on to a long list of achievements the Houston native has earned this year, including placement on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People List, Billboard chart success, awards and more.
For her GQ cover story, Megan reflected on her wins this year — and her struggles. The 25-year-old recounted being shot earlier this summer, which she has since called “the worst experience” of her life.
“I never put my hands on nobody. I barely even said anything to the man who shot me when I was walking away,” she said of the experience that left her with gunshot wounds on her feet. “We were literally like five minutes away from the house.”
In the weeks following the incident, Megan named Tory Lanez as the shooter. Speaking with GQ, she said Lanez offered her and her friend money to stay quiet.
“[At this point], I’m really scared... because this is like right in the middle of all the protesting,” she explained. “Police are just killing everybody for no reason, and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe you even think I want to take some money.’ Like, you just shot me.”
After the traumatic event, Megan was then subjected to weeks of cruel jokes and criticism from social media trolls.
“Like damn. I have to be tough — through all this?” she reflected. “... It was like, who really checks on us or... protect[s] us? You just go your whole life with that mentality. And then when something actually happens to you, when you properly should have protected yourself, your first instinct was not to protect yourself; it was protecting other people.”
Megan connected her experience to the growing calls of “Protect Black women” amidst anti-police brutality protests this summer. The Houston Hottie noted how she was left unprotected during her shooting, and was instead expected to be “tough” while dealing with her trauma.
In her debut album Good News — and in her music in general — Megan said she hopes to inspire Black women to continue speaking out about their experiences.
“I want Black women to be louder,” she said. “I want us to be sassier. I want us to demand more, be more outspoken, keep speaking and just keep demanding what you deserve. Don’t change—just get better.”