Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thoughts on the Controversy of the Life and Death of XXXTentacion, and How So Many Music Artists Get a, "Pass," for Terrible Actions

From the little I would hear in music-news about XXXTentacion he sounded horrible. He was a man who beat a girlfriend of his (Geneva Ayala) so badly she suffered nerve damage in her eye, bragged about assaulting gay people, and got in violent altercations with supposed fans. He was shot and died on Monday or as The New Yorker described it in a headline, "The Violent Life and Shocking Death of XXXTentacion." That piece delves into just how terrible a person XXXTentacion sounded like he was, observing his career was also growing and he seemed on the verge of something--the question is what, exactly? A timeline of his career paints a picture of someone who maybe had musical talent, sure, but was also a complete fucking monster.

His death has resulted in people mourning him in regards to his, "Growth," and, "Potential," but frankly even daring to put him in the same echelon of other rappers who tragically died violently seems absurd. He was no Tupac, no Biggie, no Jam Master Jay. He was an awful person who died the way he lived--violently. Many people gave XXXTentacion a pass for how he seemed to basically be a sociopath--I guess it helps he made songs that were apparently catchy enough to overlook his disregard for basic decency towards others?
Geneva Ayala after being attacked by XXXTentacion.

XXXTentacion has died, and death is tragic in general. I know many people are sad XXXTentacion has died, and I am too. I am sad things got to a point where he acted the way he did, lived life in the manner he chose, and people rewarded him for it with big record contracts. I wish he could have had the chance to be a better person who made music folk enjoyed and who also wasn't a violent abuser. There are many music artists whose work I have enjoyed who have done bad things at one time or another in their life (even John Lennon had admitted to having a pretty bad dark side, the dude who wrote the song, "Imagine," all about peace and love), but XXXTentacion didn't make a mistake here-or-there, he consistently and habitually hurt others out of anger or for a sick thrill.

Just because a song is catchy or a verse is really good that doesn't mean we give music-artists a pass or ignore the troubling aspects of their history. After all, despite his musical genius Ike Turner was a very disturbed and violent man, Elvis had a thing for underage girls, Sid Vicious murdered Nancy, and who even can keep count anymore of the sex-crime allegations against R. Kelly? We can't bury the less-glowing aspects of the past, but we can quit rewarding bad behavior in the present. XXXTentacion was a big example of someone doing all the wrong things yet having everything still go right for them...at least, until his propensity for violence caught-up with him.

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