I couldn’t believe it.

Or maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, XXXTentacion was no stranger to violence. When he was accused of routinely beating his girlfriend and threatened to cut her tongue out and rape her, I knew he was a problem. This didn’t sound like something he put out there for the blogs in order to gain attention and notoriety. He was 20 and already terrorizing women.

But he was 20. Redeemable. He was a legal age but nothing more than a child and a product of his environment. I’ve followed him over the last few months because something seemed to be happening in his life, redemption. I was rooting for him, we all were.

The beautiful thing about youth is that people change. What would history look like if Malcom X died at twenty years old? He would have died an addicted and violent criminal. Just a few years ago, Gucci Mane threw a whole woman out a vehicle for refusing sex, and he had a whole future wife at home. Gucci was the butt of every joke and people stopped taking him seriously. Then, Gucci had a glow up. Thank goodness he changed for himself and not others because even after he changed, he was accused of being a clone.

What if Dr. Dre died at twenty? He would have been remembered as an abuser. If Jay-Z died at twenty, he would have died a drug dealer.

My point is this- it’s sad to see a young man with potential and his whole life ahead of him die and read comments saying he deserved it. XXXTentacion had the ears and hearts of a lot of people who loved his artistry. Who knows where redemption would have lead him if he wasn’t murdered senselessly.

He didn’t deserve to die. He deserved to live. He deserved to walk into the footsteps of the man he was meant to be and continue to share his art with the world. His mom deserved to watch her son bloom and she deserved the gift of grandchildren one day.

No one ever gives you flowers in life. The world can be so cruel.

Rest in peace baby boy. The world wasn’t ready for you.

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