Nobody "deserves" to die
Rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Deerfield Beach, Florida June 19th as he exited a car dealership. He was gunned down by two men who stole a Louis Vuitton bag and fled in a black truck. The news was shocking. The visuals on social media of the rapper’s limp body were nauseating. Celebrities and fans alike poured out their condolences and emotions online and elsewhere. So many questions went through my head and little answers. As of now, there still is no word on the shooter, or shooters. The only thing we do know is 20-year-old Jahseh Onfroy is gone and his future was cut short.
XXXTentacion’s short life is a complicated one. He was raised as a single child by his grandmother and dealt with bouts of depression. He was awaiting trial on charges that he allegedly beat his pregnant girlfriend. On several other occasions, XXXTentacion is accused of assaulting and choking girlfriends of his and threatening them. In May, Apple and Spotify removed the rapper’s music from their curated playlists for their anti-hate policies, only to add them back after backlash. Despite all of this, as serious as his transgressions were, XXXTentacion did not deserve to die.
Without a doubt, this young man from Florida was troubled, but there were signs that he was moving toward a happier and peaceful place. He made music for a lot of people dealing with depression and self-doubt. He spoke to his fans through lyrics as if they were his friend. XXXTentacion even had a charity event planned for his community on Saturday, but he will never be able to make that and everything else he had planned come to fruition.
It pains me to see so many people dismiss his life as people have dismissed the lives of other young people of color before. Yes, he had his many wrongs, but he had a lot more time to try and get things right. Could he do better? Yes. Could he get worse? Yes, too.
Singer Jidena had a great point to make of what his life meant and why he didn’t deserve to die.
XXXTentacion showed promise like a lot of young people in the world. XXXTentacion also had his own demons he was fighting like a lot of young people in the world. The biggest different is that XXXTentacion only got to live out 20 years of his life and that is what he will be judged by, not the time he never had the opportunity to see.
I’ve been doing a lot of listening recently. It sounds so simple and yet, it's imperative, and something we ALL need to do more of.
From as far back as I can remember, I have loved the big stage. I love performing, I love talking in front of large crowds and I enjoy pushing myself to showcase something different for others enjoyment. But too often I can say that I speak, but don’t listen nearly as much. In the midst of political havoc, the #MeToo movement and a plethora of issues surrounding sexuality, listening has taken a back seat. Instead, folks write think pieces, speak their mind in rash ways and it seems to be a fight for first place in the 5th grade lunch line to get a word in during conversations. I thought listening was part of communication?
I have had a number of experiences through my 26 years of life. Being one of the few black people from my town from elementary school to college and in professional world, I’ve had to learn to assimilate in many ways. Men have dominated most places of power in these spaces and it was more of the status quo. I never had to think about women and their hardships until it was the headline of every article and website. Women have been and continue to be the backbone of families, relationships and society, but they don’t get their just due at all. Instead, just like 9 months of pregnancy, a lot of men often swoop in for the positive times and swoop out when things get rough. Meanwhile, in the midst women’s names and character is often chastised and ran over. I’m mature enough to say it’s unacceptable.
What's been missing is listening to women express themselves. And listening is about more than letting someone speak. Active listening is understanding one's situation, demonstrating genuine apathy and shutting up. When we hear and know better, then we can BE better.
Through my time of enlightenment I have also come to understand as men we see and hear other men do or say things that are totally not cool and let them go way too often. Instead, we NEED to hold one another accountable more often. When we hear a fellow brother say something that would not be acceptable in the presence of your sister or mother, we need to check them. If a man is doing anything physically wrong to a women, we absolutely need to address it head on. I feel like a lot of where we are today is because we don’t listen to women's issues and concerns and in turn, do enough to hold others accountable. I say it’s time we understand this and do something about it.
This is where we are at. Women are saying enough is enough and as men, we need to listen. Then, we need to hold our brothers accountable and check them when they do or say wrong. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can acknowledge our faults and move forward knowing certain things don’t have to be the way that they are. It’s time we hold each other accountable so the world is a better place for all of us – women too.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.