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XXXTentacion was on the path to self improvement

Jennie Leeper, Co-editor-in-chief

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The recent passing of south Florida rapper XXXTentacion, or Jahsey Onfroy, has sparked a lot of attention– and with emotions running high due to the loss of many teenagers’ favorite artist, it has also sparked a lot of controversies.

From vulgar lyrics and criminal charges to charity events and self-improvement, almost everyone has an opinion on the artist.

While the validity of the details of the violent charges Onfroy had are still up for debate, it is safe to say he had violent tendencies. Although it does not excuse this behavior, his short temper and preemptive self-defensive tendencies most likely stemmed from his difficult upbringing in Florida. Onfroy reported living with his mother, and oftentimes his grandmother, stating that his mother “was just in situations where she couldn’t take care of [him]”. With an unstable home and difficult time in school, it is not uncommon to see at-risk youth turn to violence, and generally get caught up with the wrong crowd.

Although Onfroy had strained personal relationships, leading to drama and alleged abuse of his ex-girlfriend, the artist had admitted to his mistakes and vowed to focus on self-improvement in order to become a better person for his family and his fans.

Shortly after this decision, it became clear to everyone that he was genuine with this statement. Bringing attention to mental health issues, specifically depression and anxiety, through his words and music was something rarely offered by rap music. Offering support to those like himself, dealing with depression, was considerably special coming from a young black male, given that many stigmas exist regarding mental health in black men.

Also in Onfroy’s mission to give back to society, he established several charity events and even announced that with the assistance of his mother, he was developing “The Helping Hand Foundation” (Which will continue as planned after his death). Additionally, Onfroy had recently encouraged his fans to become a part of this charitable endeavor by sparking “The Helping Hand Challenge”, which encouraged his fans to do something kind and helpful for people in need, suggesting that one act of kindness from everyone makes a big difference in the world.

Although the promises of self-improvement were dismissed by those who did not offer their support to the artist, the announcements of charity events and nearly anything positive Onfroy began working on were also dismissed for being “insincere”. This is the problematic attitude that causes individuals to refrain from working on themselves and becoming more beneficial members of society. Knowing that you are only going to be met with hate and more ostracization than usual if you attempt to do something positive can be extremely discouraging.

Passing at the young age of 20, it is unfair to write the life of XXXTentacion off as only an abuser due to the mistakes he made in his teenage years. A very large number of people, especially celebrities, have similar backgrounds and issues as Onfroy, however people are able to overlook almost everyone else, which could be heavily attributed to the general distaste of the rap scene– given that people are willing to say that their favorite white actors “make mistakes”, however black rappers have no good in them once they make similar mistakes.

The denunciation of XXXTentacion was just during this tough time, and most likely assisted him in becoming the better person he was when he passed, however, it is no longer helpful after their change of heart, and ultimately after their death. XXXTentacion should be lived on through his music, fans, and family — taking the difficulty of his life into consideration.

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About the Writer
Jennie Leeper, Co-editor-in-chief

My name is Jennie Leeper and I am a senior here at Ben Davis. After being on the Spotlight staff as an editor since sophomore year, I am co-editor-in-chief...

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