The death of XXXTentacion does not excuse the sins in his life

His death is tragic, but we should not forget the horrendous things he had done.

Dexter Lin

Published: 20 June 2018, 12:00 AM

In many ways, XXXTentacion (real name Jahseh Onfroy) was at the forefront of new wave hip hop. Crooning over spacey beats about topics like depression, self-harm and suicide made him many fans who felt he put into song what they couldn’t express with words.

Then on June 18, 2018 (Miami, USA time), he was shot dead, at the age of 20.

In the wake of his death, his fans and contemporaries began outpouring condolences and respect for the late rapper.

Hip Hop giants like Kanye and Lil Pump mourned the late rapper’s demise.

But perhaps as we mourn his death, we should not lapse into blind worship because XXXTentacion was no saint. It’s one thing to feel sad at his murder as many of us, myself included, were touched by his music. But it is another to declare that he was an angel in life and prevent anyone from saying otherwise.

Many of his fans, immediately after his death, began to deflect any and all criticism of their fallen idol.

XXXTentacion was no angel. He emotionally and physically abused his ex-girlfriendbeat up a gay man (he used the homophobic f-word to describe him), and was generally a very violent person. He even punched a fan at one of his shows.

I am not saying that there was nothing good about him either. I believe before his death he was actively trying to better himself – he did do many charity drives and gave back to the community he grew up in.

XXXTentacion tried to turn his violent and nihilistic attitude around before his death.

But it does not erase his sins. For fans to ignore that part of him is to ignore the plight of his victims like Ayala Geneva, his ex-girlfriend. She was pressured by XXXTentacion’s fans into not testifying in court against him out of fear of being harassed.

This is not the first time a celebrity gets “exonerated” of all his or her shortcomings after a tragic death. Legendary rapper and icon Tupac Shakur was shot in 1996 in a hit-and-run, and has become a legend in music, impervious to criticism.

Not so many know that he was convicted of rape, and those who know see it as a little inconvenience to his legacy rather than a stain.

The rapper many consider to be one of the greatest had his sins too.

Even Amy Winehouse had her bouts of violence, assaulting a fan who simply asked the British singer for a picture. She also had several run-ins with the law.

Should we exonerate them of their sins simply because they have passed on? I do not think so.

I believe we should look back on their lives as they lived it. Brutal, violent or sad, they lived controversial but talented lives.

While these individuals had immeasurable impact on their fans through their music, if we remember the good and ignore the bad, we do injustice to the people who they left hurt and abused. As much as their music may have impacted us positively, we must not forget who they were as people, lest we dismiss the trauma they caused their victims.

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