Violent Artists Don’t Need to Be ‘Canceled,’ They Need Rehab

04.21.17 2 months ago

Atlantic Records/Soundcloud

While #FreeKodak and #FreeX have become rallying cries of the past six months as the two fight their respective abuse charges, some people aren’t letting their actions slide — for good reason. Micah Peters recently wrote an editorial in The Ringer noting that XXXTentacion, recently released from jail to probation on home invasion and aggravated battery charges, has shown no remorse for his behavior towards the pregnant woman he allegedly assaulted and deserves no sympathy from his fans. Since getting home, the Florida rhymer has had plenty of vitriol for Drake. After saying he needed a break in an Instagram Live stream, he’s spent time lecturing Chicago Rapper and Drake affiliate 600 Breezy on how to “beef” and threatening to cut Rob Stone in a graphic, anatomically impossible manner.

Based on what he’s offered the public, it seems XXXtentacion is skrrt-skrrting down the same self-destructive path as Kodak Black, Soulja Boy, Chris Brown and other artists who prey on women and/or continue to use violence as a resolution to their issues. As members of a genre that gives artistic license to examine and even glorify personal demons, it’s proven difficult — if not detrimental — for many of these MCs to figuratively exorcise them. Through their impulsive, often violent misdeeds, they court scorn and contempt from fans, specifically those within the social mediasphere who can potentially determine their livelihoods. It seems the worst place a public figure can be these days (besides the sunken place) is in the social media “trash” bin, unsupported by fans and losing opportunities due to anything, from something as serious as domestic violence to a minor infraction like a dumb tweet from the past.

But when the the social media pleas begin — to get this or that person “outta here” — where exactly are they supposed to go? I feel like our plugged-in youth associate the phrase as a corollary of the block button, effectively erasing someone from our collective consciousness, even if they still exist. It’s vital to hold people accountable for their actions and rally around victims — but leaving abusers without the help they need to redeem themselves is a form of victimization.

Of course we all have the right to stop supporting whoever we want for whatever reason, but I also think that cries for the world to “cancel” a human being is exhibit A of our lack of regard for each other in 2017. No one should be afforded a life of privilege while engaging in predatory behavior, but I believe we all deserve chances to rehabilitate ourselves from the traumas of our lives. And no, American correctional institutions don’t represent true rehabilitation.

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