So What Did We Learn From XXXTentacion?

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

“Though I knew the laws, I payed no heed
How can I return your wasted breath?
What I did not know has cost you dear,
For there is no cure for death.” — Brothers by Vic Mignogna

Death is an interesting thing.  Interesting in that it can be both pointless and a necessary part of life.  This I believe is the situation in the unfortunate death of Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, publicly known as XXXTentacion.  His death, reportedly the result of a drive-by that quickly took his life, was pointless.  Nothing was gained by killing him, no lives were saved, nothing more than pointless violence.  Unfortunately, this sad death is a necessary lesson that I’m sad had to be taught this way.  The lesson being a very simple yet necessary one in this day in age.  Let me state the obvious up front:  I am in no way saying he deserved his death, that it was necessary, or that we are better off for him dying.  What I am saying is this.

Yes, he was accused of domestic violence, for instigating attacks on others, and many other problematic actions.  Yes, he did bad things in his life or was accused of doing such things.  Plenty of deceased artists have been in the same boat.  David Bowie slept with a minor, Michael Jackson was allegedly a pedophile, Bob Marley was a womanizer, Tupac Shakur died a registered sex offender, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez burned down a boyfriend’s house, Sam Cooke forced himself on a woman and wound up shot to death for attacking a woman, Marvin Gaye had sex with and married an underage girl, and many others have done bad things while making great music.  While I’m not saying XXXTentacion was on par with these artists, I am saying that his situation is not new by any means.  His music, for what it’s worth, isn’t actually bad.  It’s actually pretty great.  The problem is that due to his image, he has been lumped in with the “mumble rap” subgenre of rap.  Fact is, for this generation, he’s left behind a very interesting body of work.

However, it goes without saying that the lesson here is not that shit talking means one should die, but rather something that I believe is lost in this generation and sadly had to be retaught in a very morbid way.  The lesson being that shit talking on the internet can have very, VERY dire consequences.  No one deserves to be murdered for shit talking on the internet, but when you are aware that the very people you fight with mainly are in fact willing and able to resort to violence, it would wise not to poke the proverbial bear.  No, killing a musician for being an asshole or shit talker isn’t right nor justified.  But I think if anything, his life is a story of desensitization.

Desensitization to both the fact that for as much as I’m for artists being true to themselves, we cannot ignore that as we watched him rise to fame, he kept getting more and more dangerously divisive.  We watched him challenge fights that could have harmed others, we laughed when we saw him get knocked out on stage, we found excuses for the bad actions we know he did, and in death we see, myself until I wrote this attempting to justify why he should be considered a hero.  He made great music, but if we have to talk about murdered young artists that we should hail as a hero, Google Mia Zapata, or Selena Perez, but for him?  Even if you want to bring up the floated theory that his ex lied about the abuse (please post proof to back up said claim) there’s still the fact that he did instigate a lot of conflict that endangered innocent lives.  But again desensitization.  I won’t speak into life the possibility of others dying, but please remember that in the history of hip hop, many have died for pointless reasons.  In some cases, reasons that weren’t even the direct result of their actions.  For the love of all that is right and peaceful, we can’t have this happen again.

So what do we say about XXXtentacion?  Is he a hero?  A villian?  A great musician?  The morbid poster boy for toxic masculinity or proof that society has gotten too correct politically?  Do we give him his flowers or do we spit on his grave?  Do we remember his music or what he did to his girlfriend’s face?

I don’t know.  I’m just a black man with an opinion.

Articles submitted by freelance writers. If you would like to submit an article to the Onyx Truth, please click on the SUBMISSIONS link at the very top of the site for more info.
%d bloggers like this: