The other day, I was listening to some music on my Spotify discover weekly playlist and heard a new song. The album was new, and i liked the beat so I added it to one of my playlists. When it came on in the car the next day, my friend noticed the artist of the song right away.
“I didn’t know you like XXX?”
I had never really heard of XXXtentacion before, so I couldn’t say that I liked him per-say. I liked the song! But my friend had a reaction that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. She told me to look up something that happened between him and his girlfriend, and then reconsider liking the new song I had discovered.
When I got home I looked up XXXtentacion, but before I could finish typing out my entire search the suggestions started popping up. “XXXtentacion domestic abuse” and “XXXtentacion girlfriend beaten”. As it turns out, this young rapper (only twenty years old), has a very violent and aggressive past. Last year, he was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness-tampering. If this isn’t disturbing enough, the pregnant woman that he assaulted was his girlfriend. In the police report, it states that he threatened to kill her and even held her head underwater. There is absolutely no excuse for this vile and upsetting incident to ever have occurred. All too soon this situation starting seeming very similar to the controversy surrounding Chris Brown and his actions towards Rihanna. And in this situation, I ask myself the same question: I don’t have to support the artist to enjoy their music, right?
If every popular song was only based on the character of the people who create them, I don’t think that the same songs would become popular. That is, for the most part, because people are able to separate art and artist effectively.
This separation is even more easily done because of the fact that listening to XXXtentacion’s music does not affect what he chooses to do and doesn’t directly fund or contribute to his abusive tendencies. His music, or at least what I have heard of it, doesn’t promote domestic abuse either. And why does what music that you listen to have to reflect so harshly on your personal morals? If you listen to XXXtentacion, it’s not as if you are declaring that you think he is a good person or that you agree with every action he has ever made. By enjoying one of his songs you’re just appreciating the music. You are not automatically a bad person for dancing when one of his songs comes on while you’re out.
If you simply cannot stand to listen to XXXtentacion for your own reasons, then, by all means, do not listen to him. To judge anyone else for being able to enjoy his music without supporting his actions would be a shame.