Listen up, brands: This real hot girl summer sh*t isn’t for you
Texas native and femcee Megan Thee Stallion is setting everything ablaze. Known for her raw and seductive bars, her early viral freestyles left her audience wide-eyed and craving for more of “Thee Stallion.” A play on the southern slang used to describe tall, fine women, “stallion” references Megan’s stacked physique and 5’10” height. Women everywhere have started calling themselves stallions, and even ponies if they’re not quite tall enough for the first label. Known as the Houston Hottie, Megan also calls her fans Hotties and Hot Girls—a fanbase that grew due to the skills and slick talk exhibited on her 2018 EP, Tina Snow, after signing with 300 Entertainment. Tina Snow is Megan’s blonde bob-wearing pimp alter ego, a different character from the persona we’re seeing this summer: Hot Girl Meg.
Hot Girl Meg embodies what it means to be confident and carefree. Her identity is clearly present on Thee Stallion’s latest summer release, Fever, with Megan only spitting lyrics about “real hot girl shit,” which essentially means doing what you want and being in your bag—and maybe in the bag of the guy you’re dating, too. The popularity of the Hot Girl persona has fueled Megan’s concept of a Hot Girl Summer, something that everyone on social media is dying to have—even corporations looking to market their latest products.
Because of the 2019 XXL Freshman‘s authenticity and seamless—maybe even unintentional—marketing skills, Megan Thee Stallion has coined the phrases “Hot Girl Summer,” as well as “Drive The Boat,” which refers to the act of liquor being poured into your mouth. Hot Girl Summer has especially become valuable to major brands, from Wendy’s to Maybelline all wanting to be part of (or cash in on) the fiery season she created. It seems that when summer kicked off on June 21st, so did the official corporate co-optation of Hot Girl Summer. Brands everywhere are finding ways to capitalize off of the buzz, whether its through social media, email blasts, or articles produced by non-diverse writing staff. It is also embarrassingly evident that a lot of these brands don’t even understand the concept.
Hotties worldwide began tweeting at Megan when they received an email blast from fast fashion retailer Forever 21 with the subject line, “Feelin’ Hot Girl SUMMAH.” Even Megan was confused by the spelling, but aside from that inaccuracy, the message screamed, “Someone behind the screen is trying too hard.” The usage didn’t even really make any sense, since the blazing expression is not quite a feeling, but a time. On July 9th, makeup and cosmetics brand Maybelline tweeted out, “Summer 19 in three words: hot girl summer. PERIODT! How’s your hot girl summer going?”—throwing together trending terms all birthed by thriving Black women in rap, while still struggling to produce a more inclusive range of foundation shades for that exact demographic.
The next day, Fenty Beauty—the brainchild of business guru and singer Rihanna—followed up with a clapback and retweeted Thee Stallion’s past statement about using Fenty foundation. “Some of y’all needed a refresher on the ACTUAL Hot Girl Summer makeup routine so we thought we’d run it back for y’all one time,” the tweet read—and I couldn’t have agreed more urgently.
Many fans insisted the “Cash Shit” rapper cash in on the phrase and file for a trademark before Forever 21 and Fashion Nova—known for capitalizing and stealing from smaller (often Black) fashion brands—start producing crop tops and biker shorts featuring the term.
That phenomena sadly isn’t new, though, as trending words coined by Black people—”Fleek,” “Bye Felisha,” and “Sis”—are consistently repackaged and spit out by companies to serve other communities. But Thee Stallion’s fan base isn’t willing to let that happen.
Some Hotties even begged for Megan to make the co-optation stop, and the rapper assured her followers that a trademark for the idiom is indeed in progress, and that the Hot Girl Summer would continue despite cries from Hotties who feel their flame being put out by appropriation and more.
I’m reminded of how Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B rose to fame with her rawness and catchphrases like “Okurrr,” which landed her a Super Bowl Halftime Pepsi commercial filled with endless tongue rolling. The “Press” rapper even went so far as to file for a trademark for the phrase, but she was ultimately denied due to it being considered a commonplace term birthed in the drag community. Many rappers have branded themselves with catchphrases and ad libs, such as City Girl’s “Periodt,” as well as the terms City Girls and City Boys for fans who want do do nothing more than twerk, have fun, and swipe their Visas.
Since its popularity has grown, Hot Girl Summer has taken on many definitions, but Meg has stepped in countless times to remind everyone, especially the ladies, that this summer is about them.
In an interview with The Root at the BET Awards, Hot Girl Meg said, “It’s essentially about women [and men] being unapologetically them. Just having a good ass time, hyping up your friends, doing you and not giving a damn what nobody got to say about it.” She reaffirmed her stance that this global movement is not a competition between the sexes (if it was, though, the ladies would be winning) and that even women who are boo’d up can still have a Hot Girl Summer.
So if you are still wondering how you can participate in Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer, here are a few tips: First and foremost, keep streaming Fever, then live unapologetically, be the life of the party, throw your head back to have a little cognac poured in your mouth, secure the bag (whatever that looks like for you), and even rap about your pu**y if you want. Now that’s real hot girl shit.
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