Yesterday afternoon Florida rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed while shopping for a new motorcycle in Broward County, Florida. The twenty-year-old, legally known as Jahseh Onfroy, rose to fame after his song Look at Me! went viral on SoundCloud and other social media platforms. Since then the rapper released three new albums, most recent being “?” which was released in March.
The thing about XXXTentacion is that he was a talented artist. Many of his songs resonated with rap fans and touched a large number of people. His death was tragic and sudden. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and his fans.
But X’s death does not absolve him of his past crimes and mistakes. A lot of what I have been seeing online on Twitter, Instagram, etc. has been fans defending X for his history of abuse and violence because he donated to charity once or twice or because he was “so young” and that “everyone makes mistakes.”
But for those who don’t know, X was convicted for beating his pregnant girlfriend, Geneva Alaya, half to death and causing her to lose sight in one of her eyes. He also threatened to shove a barbecue fork in her vagina. His fans, who vehemently defended him, got her GoFundMe account for eye surgery suspended and attacked her online for coming out about her abuse.
According to court documents, that was not the only time he committed acts of violence against Geneva. He strangled her numerous times, threatened to kill their unborn child, and even put a knife to her throat when she confessed to sleeping with another man.
And that’s just part of a series of violent events. X said in an interview that when he was in jail, he thought his cellmate was gay because he was staring at X. X then smashed his cellmate’s head into the floor and smeared his blood on his face as if it were war paint.
From the looks of it, X didn’t seem to have any remorse for anything that he did. Of course, he started donating to charities for preventing domestic violence. The way it seems to me, though, is that his PR team wanted him to start donating to protect his already shattering image.
And still, after all of this XXXTentacion still had a huge following of fans. No matter how many pieces of evidence people have brought forward, his fans still find ways to defend him. And I don’t think that you should defend someone like this, even after they’ve died. Death does not take away from the fact that someone was a horrible person, or that they did horrible things.
I think this also speaks to a larger problem in society, where we have these affluent men who have money or a following and do terrible things to women or other minorities and just… get away with it. Nothing ever happens.
Allegations and accusations arise and yet, here they are. Donald Trump, Woody Allen, even Mark Wahlberg to name a few. These men have done some horrendous things and yet people just gloss over their crimes and say, “well, he’s talented,” or, “he’s a nice guy.”
I was hoping that people would open their eyes to XXXTentacion’s abusive tendencies and realize that giving him a legacy lets other abusive men think they can get away with things that are just as bad- or worse.
But maybe this is a problem we’ll always have. Maybe we’ll always be doomed to watch abusers live on and further their careers just because they’re famous. It seems that we haven’t learned our lesson yet, so it makes me wonder if there’s any hope left for us.