Florida rapper XXXTentacion has been simmering in hot water for about a year now. Amidst being charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering, his debut album “17” entered at number two on the Billboard 200 chart which begs the question—how far are fans willing to go to support a problematic artist?
To clear things up, Pitchfork obtained the 142-page testimony delivered by the victim. The deposition narrates the beginning of their relationship lasting from May to October 2016. The specifics are disconcerting, to say the least; the victim broke her iPhone 6S in a jealous fit, threats of grilling equipment being inserted in her, domestic abuse resulting in dangerous physical injuries, and countless death threats. Even her pregnancy couldn’t stop him from head-butting and punching her. Afraid of the police questioning them, XXXTentacion brought her to a different apartment and locked her in a bedroom for two days without a visit to a hospital or access to her mobile phone until he was arrested two days after.
Transcripts of the woman’s ex-boyfriend, his mother, and Miami Beach police officer Sgt. Amel Soto were brought into the light by Pitchfork. Both her ex-boyfriend and his mother attested to her injuries and backed up much of her original testimony. Sgt. Soto, the officer who first questioned her, remembered the victim narrating the incident when XXXTentacion attacked her for humming someone else’s music.
Just yesterday, the rapper addressed the allegations via Instagram stories. He managed to remain classy during the first part:
But as he continued to deny the charges, he threatened to “fuck ya’ll little sisters in their throats … Anybody that called me a domestic abuser, I’m finna domestically abuse ya’ll little sisters’ pussy from the back.” To make matters worse, he targeted his threats towards women. In the clip, XXXTentacion says “If you want your pussy domestically abused, hit my line.”
We’re not going to post it here because of its sensitive nature, but if you really want to see it, a multitude of Twitter users already uploaded it.
Art VS Artist
Like in many similar cases, there are people who use this argument to defend their continuous patronage. They claim that the reality of an artist doesn’t necessarily reflect on their art, or that as long as they don’t monetize from the matter, their personal lives are a whole different story. These fans “respect” the personal lives of the artist and are simply here for the music.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are people who boycott the artist and their music due to their problematic personalities. It’s not pleasing to be bumping to a song and then remembering how the artist is a domestic/sexual abuser. The ideas of giving these artists financial support by listening to their music on streaming apps or going to their concerts are horrifying.
Actor Eric Andre took out his frustrations against XXXTentacion and Kodak Black, another rapper with the same kind of controversy. Andre poses the question, “Why are we not ok with neo nazis but we listen to rappers who beat and rape women??? #humanrights.” He carried on and tweeted about World Star Hip Hop’s over-the-top promotion of these rappers, tweeting “i was like, why can i complain about racism freely, but criticize a rapper’s sexism and everyone gets butt hurt. racism, sexism, homophobia – it’s all bigotry. it is all part of the same systemic evil that keeps people subservient and disenfranchised.”
Holding Abusers Accountable
Everyone’s aware of Chris Brown’s domestic violence case against Rihanna. He gave himself up to police and plead guilty to the charges brought upon him. It took him years to really open up and speak about the events that unfolded that night. Meanwhile, after what seems like an eternity and countless witnesses, R. Kelly is still pretending he’s not a paedophile.
It’s difficult to support problematic artists. It must be difficult to ignore a catchy tune. At this point, it’s a person’s morals that determine the line of support.