Shutting the fuck up is free: On XXXTentacion and black women’s survival
Shutting the fuck up is free. I don’t know how many times I have to tell y'all that. Last week, the rapper XXXtenacion was shot and killed in South Florida. The death of any young person is tragic because there are family and friends who are significantly impacted by this event. However, in this situation, I think that it would be best for all of us to follow the old adage that our mothers hammered into our heads as kids: If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. I think more people should have followed this advice immediately after his death.
I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I also believe in calling a spade, a spade. A person’s sins in life are NOT completely absolved or forgotten after death. XXXtenacion was a shitty person. Let’s keep it real. He nearly beat a gay man to death for staring at him too long in prison. He beat his pregnant girlfriend to the point of completely shattering her orbital bone, stuck objects in her, held her hostage and refused to take her to the hospital. After she escaped from the house with the help of friends, he and his family members harassed her in an effort to get her to drop the charges she filed against him. I say all of this to say that he was trash, and that’s just the facts.
However, I find it quite funny that immediately after his death, all of these celebrities and fans completely forgot about this. My TL was filled with long ass iPhone press releases from folks saying that he was a wonderful man with tremendous talent and that he was on his way to redemption. WOW. Isn’t it amazing how this man’s perpetual abuse and harassment of women and LGBTQ people was completely swept under the rug? I find it even more amazing that all of these people want to hold him up on their shoulders like Jordan after a championship game after his death when they did nothing to open their mouths to reprimand him or even guide him while he was alive. Did you try to have a conversation with him when he said that police brutality was not really about race and black people need to stop saying that? Or maybe you tried to talk to him when he said that women are only belittled if they allowed themselves to be.
They tell you not to follow your idols on social media, and my God am I glad that Beyonce’s real Instagram is hidden in the depths of the dark web. I was already upset when Kendrick “Mr. Woke Himself” threatened to pull his music from Spotify after they removed Xxxtenacion’s music under their new “Hateful Conduct Policy.” My stomach turned as I watched people like J.Cole, the Game, Michaela Cole, and others post pictures of them listening to his music and saying how he was trying to become a better person and all of this jazz.
As I become older, I’ve come to realize that being a woman, especially a black woman, in the hip hop culture might be at complete odds with my survival, safety, and mental stability. This is just further evidence that people don’t care about black women. In offering your condolences, how can you offer phrases such as, “he was trying to turn his life around,” and “why bring up some old shit,” or “he made some mistakes, but I believed that he could be redeemed,” after you’ve seen the pictures of what he did to that young woman? Do we not care about this woman, who has been harassed to the point that her gofundme page for her hospital bills was taken down, and all that she has suffered? Furthermore, how dare we even compare him to Malcom X?! I’m looking at you, Jidenna. The growth, development and redemption of a black man should not come at the expense of a black woman, and that’s just facts. I’ll keep saying this until it sinks into your thick skulls.
I’m not saying you can’t offer condolences because you can totally can. But if you do that, then you should also be prepared to acknowledge all of the shitty things that he has done. Physical and sexual assault on any person is not a mistake, and the use of such language doesn’t negate the act, but further exacerbates the perpetuation of a culture that refuses to force men to take responsibility for their actions. In life and death. If this rapper had been any other person but a black man, we would not be having this conversation and that’s just facts. Let Post Malone do any of the things that Xxxtenacion had done and folks would’ve turned all of their tweets from “RIP” to “Welp.” Pause. That’s incorrect because that would mean that folks would have to give a damn about black women and the LGBTQ POC community.
Listen, I’m not going to say that I’m happy that he’s dead, but I’m not about to hold a candlelight vigil in his honor. What I’m going to do is sit here and eat my food like the good Sister Tiffany “New York” Pollard suggested that we all do, and some of y'all should too.