Hero or villain? Mixed reactions after death of rapper XXXTentacion

Before his death, XXXTentacion was awaiting trial on charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, false imprisonment and witness tampering.
Before his death, XXXTentacion was awaiting trial on charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, false imprisonment and witness tampering.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/XXXTENTACION

ATLANTA (NYTimes) - As news spread on Monday (June 18) of the death of rapper XXXTentacion in a Florida shooting, a familiar social media ritual began to play out, with celebrities posting tributes to his talent.

"I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here," wrote Kanye West.

Diddy tweeted: "One of the most interesting people I've ever met."

But a backlash came almost immediately, with people criticising those stars for failing to immediately condemn XXXTentacion - whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy - for some of the brutal acts he was accused of.

A familiar debate returned in force: Can you separate the art from the artist?

A 20-year-old who rose quickly from underground fame to the uppermost rungs of the Billboard charts, XXXTentacion was awaiting trial on charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, false imprisonment and witness tampering.

After producer Diplo tweeted "thanks for inspiring me", many people took him to task.

 
 

A few hours later, Diplo wrote: "He has his faults and we were willing to pay for his sins."

In another widely circulated post, R&B singer Jidenna called the accusations against XXXTentacion "horrific" but argued that people can change.

Whether XXXTentacion had repented was another subject of vociferous debate.

Last year, the rapper said he would donate money to a domestic abuse charity, then revealed that he gave it to children's causes instead.