This week, news broke that rapper XXXTentacion was robbed and murdered. Waking up to a Twitter timeline full of so much respect for a domestic abuser and homophobe is nothing new. It can only be disappointing at this point in the game.
However, XXXTentacion’s sudden demise has raised the conversation of whether to separate “the artist” from “the art”…again. To be honest, we just can’t.
Money: XXXTentacion’s armor
As is the case for many rich men, money is the savior, sword, and shield. It protects them against the mundane existence of “real life”, assists them in their quest for power and success, and defends against the responsibilities of “accountability for one’s actions.”
Entertainers in ‘the industry’ are prime examples of this ideal. In 2018 alone, abusers in entertainment have been at the forefront of conversations around equality and the safety of womxn in Hollywood. Bill Cosby, convicted sexual abuser, is now disgraced…in his old age and millions of dollars later. Harvey Weinstein is legally accused of sexual assault…in his older age and millions of dollars later. Were XXXTentacion’s victims meant to wait for his old age and millions to arrive before their justice too?
Then again, our communities are still “stepping in the name of love”… But remember that the very voice that serenades and entertains us through the speakers of a social gathering is the same one that haunts your favorite entertainers’ victims.
Respecting the deceased or their families?
I am neither judge, jurror, or executioner; so it is not my place to place judgement on whether someone should live or die. At the same time, as far as my assessment goes, I can only respect the deceased if I respected them alive. In this instance, I can respect the deceased’s family.
XXXTentacion had a mother who carried him, bore him unto the world, and loved him. He had a family, and I am sorry that they should have to feel the agony of grief. At the same time, I will not let his untimely passing become his only legacy by littering social media with heartfelt condolences. He beat, tortured, and exercised various methods of abuse towards womxn. He did that.
In terms of skill, one can argue he was a talented musician; but he was equally skilled at making the lives of his victims hell. For which reason, I will be reserving my respects when it comes to, the known abuser, XXXTentacion.
Featured image by Lenar Nesmith