On Monday, June 18, 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed in Florida after an apparent robbery-gone-wrong.
Fans and celebrities alike took to social media to express their condolences and the feeling of loss they felt as a result of the young rapper’s death.
Born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, he seemed to be going upwards in terms of his career. His debut studio album “17” reached number two on the Billboard 200. Onfroy’s sophomore and final album “?” reached number one on the Billboard 200. His single from the “?” album, “Sad,” debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 100. But all of his successes were shrouded by his checkered past.
Onfroy was no stranger to controversy as some would say his career was built off of his questionable image. From stints involving Onfroy being in and out of jail, his harrowing abuse allegations, his various feuds with popular rappers including Drake, and Spotify punishment regarding his alleged assault, Onfroy was well aware of the type of person many viewed him as.
To some, Onfroy was a monster and in their eyes, his actions overshadowed him even in death.
When the news broke of his death, there were heartbroken fans flooding my timeline but there was also something else lurking in the hub of @s and screen names. Many felt because of Onfroy’s past, what happened to him was well deserved.
Twitter user @rvskordei said, “how are you going to expect us to feel sorry or any remorse for someone who was homophobic, an abuser, AND said he liked to rape women? HOW?” Many flocked to the replies to note Onfroy’s age and how he had time to grow and learn from his past mistakes.
But to what extent can the phrase “past mistakes” trump the mistake that was committed?
Something that has become seemingly unavoidable in recent times is “cancel culture.” To put it simply, “cancel culture” is when people who have done or said something either recently or in the past get “canceled” meaning people will not support said person in whatever future projects they have approaching. In a way it’s a common-man’s blacklisting.
But the issue with cancelling someone is this: How can the person grow when he/she is now being ostracized for whatever “bad” thing he/she did? Now, I’m not saying we should have treated Onfroy like a dog who tore up your favorite pair of slippers and cooed, “You did a bad thing.” But Onfroy did have time to grow.
One of his last updates was on his Instagram story, a multicolored background that read, “planning a charity event for this weekend Florida!”
This small act definitely wouldn’t right the many wrongs he had done in his past but it was a step in the right direction.