Shocking news came out of the music world today as word spread that up and coming rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Deerfield Beach, Florida at the age of 20. Witnesses said that XXXTentacion had just left a motorcycle dealership and gotten back into his car when a gunman ran up to his window and shot him multiple times at point blank range. The immediate aftermath of the shooting can be seen in this quick video
First responders found his lifeless body and said they could not feel a pulse when they arrived at the scene. He was officially pronounced dead a short time later.
Now the point of this blog isn’t to focus on glorifying or hating on XXXTentacion. I personally didn’t care for his music and honestly thought he seemed like a pretty bad person. He was awaiting trial for beating his pregnant girlfriend as well as several rape accusations, so you can probably see why I didn’t exactly like his character. But my point is that it’s important to separate the artist from their art, because it’s possible to not like somebody while also appreciating whatever they’ve managed to create.
Going off this most recent example, XXXTentacion was a criminal and abuser that was also an inspiration to millions of young kids that were going through tough times. He often discussed the difficult issue of mental health in his music, and on numerous comment sections across the internet today I’ve seen stories of kids saying he helped them through their depression. This message to his fans is the last known video XXXTentacion recorded, and given what happened to him today, it’s pretty sobering to watch
If you can’t watch that video and take away something important or positive from what he said, you need to take a step back for a second and forget about who is speaking. No matter what his legal issues and personal life was like, it’s quite obvious he gave a shit about his fans and wanted to make a positive impact on peoples lives. I think he recorded that video knowing that his days were numbered, whether it be because of prison or murder (He was unfortunately right about the latter). He knew there was a target on his back for things he had done in the past, so he wanted to send out one last message of hope for the people that looked up to him. If you can’t appreciate that, I don’t appreciate you as a person.
There are myriad examples of celebrities, musicians, and athletes that are awful people but who are also extremely great at what they do. What Mike Vick did with his dog fighting ring was reprehensible, but he’s still one of my favorite NFL players of all time. Not because I love dog fighting, but because I like how he played football. The Cosby Show is a classic, but that doesn’t mean I am pro-date rape. Dr. Seuss cheated on his cancer stricken wife and remarried immediately after her suicide, but I still like Green Eggs and Ham. When you separate the artist from the art, you appreciate the art for what it really is. So no matter what my perception of XXXTentacion was, his music seemingly inspired a lot of people, and for that reason rest in peace.