On June 18th, TMZ broke the news of the shooting and suspected (and then later confirmed) death of controversial hip hop star XXXTentacion. The rapper was shot in his car outside a motorcycle dealership where he was shopping. News of his death broke quickly and people were just as quick to take sides.
The entire career of XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, has been a controversial one, with him having faced nearly a dozen felony charges at the time of his death. He was charged with domestic assault and battery against his ex-girlfriend, including head-butting her, strangling her, and threats to kill er, among other acts. While facing these charges, Onfroy racked up over a dozen more felony charges of witness tampering, when he made recorded calls from jail, including apparent calls to his girlfriends attempting to get her to drop the charges against him.
This article from the Daily News lays out a long list of the charges against the rapper. The rapper has also admitted to violently assaulting his homosexual cellmate for looking at him while he was naked.
Now, at this point, you're probably thinking to yourself, "why would anyone actually like this person?" That is a valid thought. Onfroy is one of the first rappers to make music about his mental illness. He had a troubled life that included trying to stab the man that was "messing" with his mom. He lived back and forth between his mother and his grandmother throughout his youth. His childhood was that of most with troubled youths: kicked out of school at a young age, locked up in a youth detention center, dropped out of high school, no solid family foundation or place to call home. This story is one that is found in the bio section of most rappers, but the thing that sets Onfroy apart is how he let it define him.
Many people want the public to excuse his actions, claiming that he had done them when he was a kid, that he was making amends for his actions, that one mistake shouldn't define his life. These people are not aware of just how many "mistakes" Onfroy made. He REPEATEDLY abused his girlfriend; he knew what he was doing, there was no doubt in his mind. Someone that makes a mistake does not openly brag about it on a podcast that they know hundreds of thousands of people could listen to.
Those who didn't support Onfroy's career were not afraid to make that fact clear after his death, stating that, just because he is dead, we cannot forget what he had done. This is true and is applicable to much more than just this one person's death. The argument that people need to start separating the art from the artist is not a new one, but is still invalid. When you support the art of an artist who has committed horrible acts you are, in turn, supporting those acts. You are telling these people that what they have done is okay because of the power and popularity they have.
Those in support of Onfroy say that he had been bettering himself and all of the bad that he did was in his past, and were all mistakes. One of the few signs of proof that Onfroy had made amends is his claim that he donated $100,000 to anti-abuse foundations. However, there is no clear proof that he actually donated the money.
This whole situation is a social media mess, bringing out the worst in everyone. This is, however, the prime example of how quick people will jump to defend abusers simply because they make good art. The same is true for people like Chris Brown and Woody Allen. It's about time that people begin to actually listen to the victims of domestic abuse and start to ostracize the abusers like they do the victims.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233