This past Monday, twenty-year-old rapper Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, a.k.a. XXXTentacion, was shot and killed in the Deerfield Beach area of Florida by two men who approached him as he was leaving a sporting-goods store, possibly in an attempt to rob him, and fired their guns at him before fleeing the scene in a dark-colored SUV. According to the Broward County Sheriff’s office, XXXTentacion was brought to a hospital for treatment, and his death was confirmed nearly two-and-a-half hours later.
XXXTentacion’s life and career were mired in controversy, mainly due to numerous instances in which he physically assaulted and sexually abused his former girlfriend, even after it was revealed that she was pregnant with his child.
From Pitchfork: (WARNING: The following portion of this post describes explicit details of XXXTentacion’s abuse towards his girlfriend, so if you need to scroll past this to avoid any triggers, please do so)
The first incident of domestic violence occurred about two weeks [after they first met in May 2016 and began seeing each other]. He slapped her and broke her iPhone 6S, because she had complimented a male friend on his new jewelry. (XXXTentacion later repaired the phone.) Later that day, XXXTentacion left the room and returned with two grilling implements—a “barbecue pitchfork” and a “barbecue cleaner,” she said—and told her to pick between them, because he was going to put one of them in her vagina. She chose the fork. He told her to undress. He was lightly dragging the tool against her inner thigh when she passed out. He did not penetrate her with it.
About a week and a half into their stint in Orlando, the woman and XXXTentacion were on their way to a show together. They listened to one of XXXTentacion’s songs in the car and she sang along with his verse. Then she hummed along with a verse from a featured artist on the track. After that, XXXTentacion fell silent and left her in the car outside the venue. Inside, they got into a fight. When they arrived home after the show, he took her into the bathroom. “And he was asking me why I was singing his friend’s part of the song, if I like him, why do I like him, like do I ever look at his Twitter,” she said.
Then, XXXTentacion head-butted her, punched her, stomped on her, and put her in the bathtub, where he continued hitting and kicking her. “He also wanted to cut out my tongue because I was singing the song,” she said. She tried to run away down the street. He tackled her, causing her head to hit the pavement. She suffered black eyes, a lump on the back of her head, scratch marks, and bruises, including a large bruise on her ankle where he stomped her.
Also while living in Orlando, he hit her with white plastic clothes hangers. “He broke a good 30 hangers on my legs,” she said. Around this time, he tried cutting her hair, and he held her head under running water in the bathtub.
In early October 2016, she found out that she was pregnant by XXXTentacion. The pregnancy was planned by both of them. On the afternoon of October 6, he told her to move from the bed they were lying on. He then went out onto the balcony, where she could still hear him, and called up the person she had slept with while XXXTentacion was in jail, demanding to know everything. When XXXTentacion returned inside, he told her, “You need to tell me the truth right now or I’ll kill you and this jit.” She said that “jit” was slang for the unborn child.
He then started elbowing, head-butting, and punching her. He strangled her until she almost passed out. He took her to the bathroom and demanded one last time that she tell him everything or he would kill her in the bathtub. She couldn’t even recognize her face in the mirror—it looked “distorted”—and her left eye was completely shut and “leaking blood.” She was losing vision. She vomited.
• Other people who lived in the Sweetwater apartment eventually arrived, and she asked them to let her go to the hospital. XXXTentacion told her she couldn’t leave until her face had healed, because otherwise the police would be called. He told her she had to wear a hoodie. XXXTentacion and the others also put glasses on her, then they all got in a car and drove to an apartment she had never been to before, in North Miami Beach. (The hoodie and glasses were noted in a police report.) They left her in a bedroom, and XXXTentacion confiscated her phone. She didn’t get it back until he was arrested on October 8.
For the next two days she didn’t leave that room except to use an adjacent bathroom. She couldn’t find a way to flee. There were bars on the windows. “If you’re smart, you would stay with me until you get a car and you have enough money to move into an apartment,” he told her. “Because if you leave now, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. You’re going to be homeless.”
In October of 2016, XXXTentacion was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering. While awaiting trial for these recent charges, he pled no contest to previous charges of armed home invasion, robbery, and aggravated battery with a firearm.
Once news broke of XXXTentacion’s death, social media was soon inundated with tributes and condolences by many of his fans and admirers, including Miley Cyrus and Skai Jackson.
Both of them ended up deleting their tweets soon after, thanks to one too many people on Twitter calling them out for paying tribute to him in the first place.
That didn’t stop Jidenna from honoring the life of XXXTentacion, and also comparing him to slain civil-rights leader Malcolm X while doing so, which got him plenty of side-eyes.
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 & violent criminal. So, I believe in change for the young.— Jidenna (@Jidenna) June 18, 2018
My point here is not to equate Malcolm with XXX, but to point out that a young lost kid can evolve into something greater. I do believe kharma was at work, however, so I pray that men heed this warning and that we revere women more than any generation b4 us.— Jidenna (@Jidenna) June 18, 2018
Erykah Badu was rather defiant about honoring XXXTentacion as well, and made it clear that Twitter wouldn’t scare her from doing so.
My lil Patna XXX. I saw the❤️in u . I saw your desire to correct your wrongs.Many people C your light. Even thru the pain U may have Inflicted as a result of your own pain, your music was on the high Freaq.— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) June 21, 2018
I will NOT be bullied out of loving you. Cleopatra your son lives on. pic.twitter.com/D7UyO1TdUq
Michaela Coel, Kanye West, and Azealia Banks also made sure to pay their respects.
Then there were the people on Twitter who weren’t exactly celebrating what happened to XXXTentacion, but they made it clear that the amount of sympathy they had for him and for what happened to him was practically nonexistent. So many of XXXTentacion’s defenders sang familiar songs on Twitter titled “Let’s Hear Both Sides” and “Innocent Until Proven Guilty,” and they especially sang this song loudly and repeatedly: “Why Do You Have To Talk About Him Like This When He’s Dead? Show Some Respect.”
And the people who had no interest in defending XXXTentacion or speaking respectfully about him in death made sure to shut all of that shit down.
I'm really not one to celebrate a Black person dying, but like…I literally felt physically ill reading the extreme abuse he committed towards his ex.— Alpha Bottom (@_hoemo) June 18, 2018
Sorry but that dude was irredeemably garbage. If people find joy in him getting off'd, I won't feel a single way about it. pic.twitter.com/JBEFb0F6WR
Women are truly a different species to some of these men— Man of the Decade (@MissZindzi) June 18, 2018
If a racist got beaten up or shot, they'd be ok with it. But a man who abuses women, we should have "empathy". My Gawd.— Man of the Decade (@MissZindzi) June 18, 2018
Whenever the victim of abuse is LGBTQ and/or a woman, it’s always “the abuser can change.” Well, in the spirit of keeping that same energy: the next time a white cop shoots one of y’alls cousins, let’s talk about whether or not that cop can be reformed.— . (@curatedbymike) June 19, 2018
XXX is a horrible person. he sexually assaulted, kidnapped, and abused his pregnant ex-girlfriend. he ruined her life to the point where she can’t even go out in public anymore. whatever happened to him is whatever. save your prayers for someone that deserve it. pic.twitter.com/UbOEoZcfGV— Brooke 🌹🌹 (@omgitsbrookiexo) June 18, 2018
please use your fundamental reading skills. i don’t wish death on him but i’m not going to feel bad nor should i be obligated to. argue with your mothers! pic.twitter.com/Oi8DLV0ciH— Brooke 🌹🌹 (@omgitsbrookiexo) June 18, 2018
they already fucking do you stupid bitch https://t.co/kJYrh5UUov— siham (@PsighYam) June 19, 2018
This is why I can't completely fuck with your music. You're a damn hypocrite and instead of being upfront and honest you play holier than thou-even enough to defend violent rapists while shitting on the "queens" you claim to ride for so hard. Just stop. https://t.co/6gZRPnqY1m— Melanie🍯 (@thesoulasylum) June 18, 2018
An untimely death is unfortunate, but it is difficult to watch an outpouring of sympathy be offered to a man who beat up a pregnant woman and never showed remorse for it. Peace to his victims who never truly received the same level of decency.— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) June 18, 2018
There's a huge difference between wanting someone dead and not grieving them when they pass. Not everyone deserves your grief, and that's not wrong. 🤷🏾♀️— Small Screen Girl (@KiraJW) June 19, 2018
If you want people to cry at your funeral, then don’t be a terrible fucking human being. You’d rather make mourning a requirement, then be someone worthy of mourning. #Men— Nereyda (@TwittaHoney) June 19, 2018
Don’t rape and torture people. That way people won’t think it’s a good thing when you get shot in broad daylight 🤷🏾♀️— Untag Me Before You Reply (@THISisLULE) June 18, 2018
the dykes outlived https://t.co/hBLxN6euYv— ramona (@gothforbid) June 19, 2018
be careful what you ask for. https://t.co/8n9iVArA6R— king crissle (@crissles) June 18, 2018
Much like when Chloe Dykstra came forward to tell her story about what happened to her in her relationship with Chris Hardwick, there were too many people (mostly men) who showed far more concern and emotion about what happened to XXXTentacion than they ever did about the person who was regularly abused by XXXTentacion. And also concerned with sending out shock tweets and asking hypothetical questions as a way of seemingly proving that everyone has done some type of fuckshit in their twenties, and that probably involves hitting a woman at least once. (Because, you know, hitting a woman is a rite of passage, like learning how to drive or going on your very first date)
Look your dad in the eye for an extended amount of time in complete silence. Wait for him to ask you what’s wrong and then say “have you ever hit Mom” watch his expression change. It’s not gonna be all but holy shit is it gonna be a lot?— T-Pain (@TPAIN) June 20, 2018
Ask your pastor what he/she was doing at 20yo— T-Pain (@TPAIN) June 19, 2018
And as they see fans, fellow artists, and courts of law continue to support and stand by people like Louis CK, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Chris Brown, hell, even Devin Faraci and Brock Turner, women who have been abused, who are currently being abused, they read and hear all of this and are reminded why they refuse to come forward and why they’re not always believed about their abuse when they do. And instead of being able to breathe a sigh of relief to themselves about the fact that there is one less abuser occupying the planet, they’re not only being reminded that the safety, comfort, and happiness of men who rape and abuse is of far greater importance than that of the women who are physically/emotionally/sexually abused by them, but they have to shake their heads in both fear and disappointment as they see other men (including men that they know and cross paths with regularly) bend over backwards to show solidarity for men who have shown in numerous ways that they don’t give a fuck about women and are willing to hurt them by any means necessary to get what they want.
I send my love + prayers to the abuse victims seeing all of this right now. You do not deserve to feel as if you have to sympathize or humanize your attacker. I’m terribly sorry that this isn’t common knowledge, either.— 𝕮𝖔𝖚𝖗𝖙 𝕶𝖎𝖒 💥 (@TheCourtKim) June 18, 2018
Why do black women have to suffer for black men’s character development?— Dignified Delawarean (@lisadabaddest) June 18, 2018
You niggas speak of growth and redemption as if it’s a guarantee, and will spend your entire lives prioritizing men’s POTENTIAL to change over the lived realities of the women they abuse right here today. Fuck you. https://t.co/wWQBXUuKus— Super Eagles Fan Account 🇳🇬 (@tdouble_u) June 19, 2018
So many abusers, especially younger abusers like XXXTentacion and Brock Turner and Chris Brown, are seen as future redemption stories who are still learning how to be good men and who still deserve guidance and support and to not have their lives and potential futures ruined, especially from the women in their lives who are expected to stand back, do nothing, and be told “It Gets Better” when it comes to the abuse they suffer at the hands of their spouses. Last weekend, Black Twitter and the rest of the world completely and understandably lost their shit when it was revealed that Jay-Z and Beyoncé a.k.a. The Carters, dropped a surprise joint album for everyone’s enjoyment titled Everything Is Love. One of the tracks on the album, “713,” featured this verse from Jay, who as many of us are aware, not only cheated on Beyoncé with “Becky With The Good Hair,” but it’s also been assumed by most of the Beyhive that Jay’s infidelity caused her enough stress that she suffered one or more miscarriages as a result:
To all the good girls that love hustlers/ To the mothers that put up with us/ To all the babies that suffered ‘cause us/ We only know love because of ya/ America is a motherfucka to us, lock us up, shoot us/ Shoot our self-esteem down, we don’t deserve true love/ Black queen, you rescued us, you rescued us, rescued us
This is Jay-Z’s way of giving thanks and showing appreciation for the women in his life (his mother, his wife, his daughters Blue Ivy and Rumi), to Black women everywhere in general, and also an apology for everything he has said and done to cause Beyoncé any pain. And as touching as it may be to see and hear Jay open up and share his emotions, the question still remains as to why the Black women in his life, the Black women in the lives of other men, and women in the lives of men in general, why do they have to endure pain and be made to suffer as part of men’s emotional/psychological/spiritual growth? Why does it take marrying the love of your life and having a daughter to realize that women are deserving of your love and respect? Especially when seventeen years earlier, Jay described in the lyrics for “Song Cry” how shocked and hurt he was when the girlfriend he had been lying to and cheating on this whole time returned the favor and started doing the same to him behind his back.
A face of stone, was shocked on the other end of the phone/ Word back home is that you had a special friend/ So what was oh so special then?/ You have given away without gettin’ at me/ That’s your fault, how many times you forgiven me?/ How was I to know that you was plain sick of me?/ I know the way a nigga livin’ was whack/ But you don’t get a nigga back like that!/ Shit, I’m a man with pride, you don’t do shit like that/ You don’t just pick up and leave and leave me sick like that/ You don’t throw away what we had, just like that/ I was just fuckin’ them girls, I was gon’ get right back/ They say you can’t turn a bad girl good/ But once a good girl’s gone bad, she’s gone forever/ I’ll mourn forever/ Shit, I’ve got to live with the fact I did you wrong forever
Know what really disappoints me in all this xxxtencion talk? The fact that men in this space were handed an opportunity to talk about how we facilitate abusive behavior and we squandered it.— Claude T. Hector (@TlntdMrHector) June 20, 2018
Live a life worth mourning in death.— bassey ikpi (@Basseyworld) June 20, 2018
Women shouldn’t have to be set on fire just so that men can remain warm, especially when the men in their lives are the ones who are lighting the matches. And when men who abuse end up getting a taste of their own suffering, don’t make the mistake of thinking that women and/or the men who love and support them will shed any tears or say any prayers on their behalf. Because frankly, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, if they wanted other people to speak warmly about them and about their character, then they should’ve behaved better. And they probably should’ve realized much sooner that not everyone is going to consider their lives and futures to be of greater importance than that of any woman.
XXXTentacion clearly didn’t realize this, but one can only hope that his friends, admirers, and supporters don’t make that same mistake.
You want respect when you die? Act right when you’re alive.— Sierra June (@BabyFaceMckie) June 18, 2018