Into ENLIGHTENMENT. This past Monday evening, I was putting gas in my whip after
my pole fitness class, and after settling down into the car, I read that emerging Hip-Hop
artist, XXX Tentacion, also known as X, born Jasfeh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, had been mercilessly gunned down outside a motorcycle dealership near Miami, Florida.
Unlike rising crossover starlet, Selena, whom I only knew of after her untimely death
at 23 in 1995, I was familiar with X only by name and only knew of the negative narratives that surrounded him, solely his criminal history and that infamous mugshot of him, depicting
a very sad and troubled young man. Still, I was not remotely curious about him as an artist
during that period.
Perhaps because he was not on the mainstage and I had not heard his music on
the radio, and though I rock with underdogs and indie artist given that I am one too,
I was really turned off by those abuse allegations and was like, naw, I don’t fuck with
that. Like many feminists and womanists, I was disgusted by idea of him allegedly
assaulting a former girlfriend, who was reported to have been carrying his child.
In spite of that dreadful possibility, I did not personally hate him or love X. I was rather
indifferent. So after pondering on the recent headline and story that accompanied his
untimely passing, I said aloud, but to myself. “Well, I don’t feel sorry for him.” Maybe, that's
the Scorpio in me.
But in the few days since X's transition, I have observed a great deal of coverage relating
to him, mostly from the Internet, particularly YouTube. Naturally, I checked out his short for
“Look At Me” and I listened to the song including a few others from his latest album, ?.
Initially, I felt defensive as hell, “this is destructive,” I heard myself say at the beginning.
"Was that a white kid being lynched? Did X just hang himself? Somewhere in the middle
and towards the end, I got it and saw the method to the madness. Aren't artists reflectors
of our society, no matter how disturbing the imagery may appear? Could the artistic expression
be any worse than what has taken place or what presently takes place around us? What
was I tripping over when I rock to Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Trina and many other hip-hop artists, including my favorite, the late Tupac Shakur.
Ok, so I was being bias, but why? Honestly, the AP and its goddamn hold on the minds of the masses can influence you to dislike or hate nearly anyone that you’ve never met, very much
like a rumor spread by word of mouth. No, it is never cool, right or good to assault anyone in any manner or fashion, unless in self-defense. But we all could learn to resist the need to judge individuals based on the accounts of organized systems that seek to divide and destroy.
As human beings, we all have shortcomings and we all will make mistakes and that’s very
much a part of being human. However, this does not mean that one should tolerate abusive situations from those who do not take accountability for their actions, especially when such behaviors violate us.
Yet In order to view X from a balanced perspective, I had to discover him from his own words,
by listening to his story, hearing him speak candidly from his own social media videos, including
interviews where he candidly divulges how he was raised and what demons he faced from
his early childhood, by not receiving enough love and nurturing from those within his
These frustrations led to profound sorrow and anger, which were never resolved.
Consequently, this led X to behave in ways which did not serve him well or those closest
to him. In spite of all the darkness, some light emerged from within and before X transitioned,
his fans and supporters were privy to witnessing his budding evolution.
As I continued to discover X’s music, I was delighted by his artistic brilliance, which has left an indelible impression on his generation, which includes the youth and so many from various persuasions. X genuinely connected with them and spoke to their sorrow, anxiety and anger. Therefore, it is not up to those who run the establishment to decide how this young man and his legacy will carry on. His generation and those who love and support him will keep his memory alive.
Without question, X is a controversial and polarizing artist. Through Soundcloud and social
media, X established a strong following, and did something that has rarely if ever been
done musically. Somehow, he managed to chart on the US Billboard charts, at number two with his first album, 17, and at number one with his second album, ?, prior to being signed to a major record label.
On the stage of 3-D life, there must be fuckery. It’s no wonder fellow dominating Hip-Hop artists like Drake would bite from X’s style on the track “Look at Me” and pretend those were not his intentions. Though it could be taken as a backhand compliment to X's influence. Why wouldn’t the hottest Hip-Hop trio in the game, the Migos, wanna beat that ass?!? Physically assaulting X on the street sometime last year, as he and a couple of his peeps casually walked down an L.A. street. However one chooses to see it, it’s apparent that X was the new threat on the block, in a territorial and ferociously competitive entertainment industry that should be likened to a brutal blood sport.
Aside from X's androgynous good-looks and rebel appeal, what impressed me the most
about him was his intellect and his uncanny knowings, including his unique spiritual insights,
in spite of him being a high school drop out. X perceived the running joke called "education”
and if not carefully checked and challenged, will continue to brainwash and dumb down the youth, grooming them for mental and spiritual slavery.
Glimpses of a potential and promising leader was evident while observing X in his final
days, and perhaps X would have become too powerful for the establishment. This young man was fearless and spoke frankly like the late Tupac Shakur. Both keenly understood the impact that white corporate supremacy continues to have on many people of color and the working poor.
Maybe by design or perhaps an unbeknown soul contract, Shakur and X, would tragically lose their physical lives to the social ills and conditions that beset many communities that are governed and stalked by the establishment. All in all, X sought to teach the youth to believe in themselves in unconventional ways. Sure he was a living and breathing contradiction, like all human beings are, but isn't our so-called world a complex matrix of duality?
X, thank you for sharing your gifts against all odds. May you rest in authentic unconditional love and light. "And yes, Quirky girl fucks with you too.” Though I could have been your mama.