Me and my roommate were lying on our dorm beds one night, jamming out to her Spotify playlist when I first heard X's hit song, "Sad." I instantly fell in love and forced my friend to keep the song playing on repeat. Once I knew who he was and how to properly spell his stage name, I listened to all the songs in his new album and went on Youtube to watch him perform them live. His stage presence and the inspirational words he spoke to his audiences quickly turned me into a giddy fan. His songs gave me an escape from reality and a breath of fresh air that I wasn't even aware I needed. X opened himself up to the entire world and his songs were a pathway for his listeners to do the same. Listeners like me were able to connect to the raw emotions X sang about: loneliness and hopelessness.
His death left me in shock. I couldn't believe all the tweets and articles I was reading of how X was just walking back to his car from motorcycle shopping when he was shot in broad daylight. I felt utter disgust towards those who were shamelessly recording him laying lifeless in the front seat of his vehicle. The idea of "views" on social media and tweeting "RIP" just to see how many retweets it gets has distracted us from what it means to respect other people's privacy and let those who passed on to truly rest in peace.
XXXtentacion's death is just another example of the unnecessary gun violence that happens every day in this country. No person shot in that manner deserves to die. Yes, X did not have the best reputation. He was part of a domestic abuse case from 2016 in which he was accused of abusing his pregnant girlfriend, false imprisonment, and even witness tampering. One of my Instagram followers kindly reminded me of these facts when posting a bunch of screenshots of X's criminal and homophobia history on their story. Yes again, X was not exactly the most open-minded, angel-like figure, but it is wrong to constantly shove all this in the faces of those who are simply trying to mourn. Those who relentlessly try to tarnish X's name even after his brutal death was either not a fan of his music or never even gave his music a chance. That's why it is so easy for them to antagonize him without understanding how much an impact his songs had on all his fans across the globe.
Strangely enough, before his death, X went on Instagram Live and said "If worst thing comes to worst, I fucking die a tragic death or some shit, and I'm not able to see out my dreams, I at least wanna know that the kids perceived my message and were able to make something of themselves..." He was in Florida at this time, the place of his death, preparing for a charity event. This shows that XXXtentacion was on the road to change and he obviously had a vision in mind for the youth. Rapper Jidenna said it best when he tweeted "For those who are so woke that their compassion is asleep, remember this... if Malcolm X was killed at the age of 20, he would have died an abuser, a thief, an addict, and a narrow-minded, depressed, and violent criminal." And it is true, X was only 20 but he had the potential to change the world and help millions of more kids who struggled as he did. X had a rough childhood growing up in foster homes, he wanted to touch any lost or damaged young minds and possibly prevent them from living the way he did. No, the fact that he had an abusive childhood does not justify his violent actions, same way his violent actions should not justify his death.
No, you cannot forget how he was abusive and homophobic but you also cannot forget how many hearts he touched with his music. I know people, including myself, who has used X's music to help get through some of the lowest points in our lives. X's life was taken way too soon. He will never have the chance to make more music, better more lives, or even better himself. His music provided a gateway for young people to open themselves up and face emotions that they were too afraid to go through alone. And for that, X will never be forgotten.