By Kyle Bray
Rapper XXXTentacion once again found himself in the news for his controversial music video accompanying his recently released platinum hit “Look at Me”. The video, released on Sept. 12, depicts violent images of police brutality and the hanging of himself and a young white child.
The video begins with XXXTentacion rapping his most popular song “Look at Me” while in a classroom. While inside, XXXTentacion and his classmates attack the teacher and dance on his desk while he slumps unconscious behind. 52 seconds into the video, however, there is a sudden plot twist.
Instead of being a video for “Look at Me”, it shows XXXTentacion and others hanging from a tree by chains, and transitions into a music video for his song Riot, a violent song about police brutality.
As XXXTentacion begins to rap “Riot“, the video shows scenes from many famous court cases, such as a reenactment of Emmett Till’s murder, the assault on Rodney King, the murder of Philando Castile, the murder of Heather Heyer and the 2014 Ferguson riots.
The lyrics of Riot detail the struggle of police brutality in America.
While XXXTentacion draws awareness to the issues surrounding police brutality, he simultaneously calls out the people who riot after police killings. XXXTentacion claims that although the rioters have problems, attacking other people’s property solves nothing.
As the song “Riot” ends, the video shows XXXTentacion leading a young black boy and a young white boy onto a stage where a noose hangs from the catwalk. He places the noose around the white child’s neck while the black child watches and then pulls the rope the noose is tied to leaving the child hanging in midair above the stage.
After this disturbing scene, the video cuts to a clip of XXXTentacion reciting a monologue about the previous scene.
He lists the many crimes that inspired this video and gives this quote, “I can go on forever about the fact that murder is murder whether you’re black or white. You should always feel free to voice your opinion, but to act out on these irrational thoughts in every shape or form is disgusting. You cannot, as black or white, call yourself the supreme race when moved out of your comfort by the opposition’s color, their skin color. That is no form of being or demonstrating being a supreme being,” as his reasoning for making this video.
The public reacted to the video in a variety of ways, the overwhelming reaction of which was disgust, as the images of violence and the hanging of white child outraged many viewers.
While XXXTentacion’s fans praised the video, claiming that it sends a powerful message about the violence occurring on both sides of the racial divide, most people are not buying into his message.
Kyle Eustic, a reporter for the music blog HipHop DX writes, “This isn’t some grandiose statement about slavery, white supremacy and police brutality, which he attempts to illustrate in the visual. This is more attention-seeking behavior from a person who revels in negativity.”
XXXTentacion is known for his violent edgy lyrics and behavior, so many believe he is simply being violent for the sake of being ‘edgy’. XXXTentacion is no stranger to controversy, as he is currently standing on trial for a violence abuse case against his girlfriend.
This video has been overall disliked by most viewers and critics, and most claim it is senselessly violent just for violence’s sake. While it does make some valid points on the issue, it is hard to take morality advice from someone like XXXTentacion, who has shown no remorse for his past violent crime and has a past of being edgy just to be a controversial person.