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XXXTentacion just got a music deal despite abuse allegations

We should be angry

XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy, is an allegedly abusive, homophobic criminal, who also happens to be a rapper. And, according to reports from Billboard, he's just signed a music deal worth $6 million with a Capitol Music Group subsidiary, Caroline.

The 19-year-old shot to fame in February of this year with his lo-fi single “Look At Me” – featuring lyrics including “I'm like bitch, who is your mans?, aye / Can't keep my dick in my pants, aye / My bitch don't love me no more, aye / She kick me out I'm like vro, aye”.

His debut full-length album, 17, was released months later in August, via Bad Vibes Forever/EMPIRE Records.

However, this year he also faced court for allegedly strangling and battering his pregnant ex-girlfriend to the point where “both eyes became shut and the victim could not see” back in October 2016. Reports also state there are multiple photographs that show the injuries Onfroy purportedly inflicted on the woman.

He's still awaiting trial for the charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering, after his court date, originally set for October 5, was postponed.

As put by Aleah Scott, writing in gal-dem: “It is sickening that in this time Onfrey’s music has only flourished. While Onfrey’s alleged victim speaks in detail about the routine violence she experienced, Onfrey is free to threaten her on national social media, with no repercussions from the media industry. He is lauded as the ‘‘Rapper we need to know about’”, with his songs raking up to 75 million views on YouTube.

“There was very little coverage a few weeks ago of the alleged victim giving evidence in court, but more focus on Onfrey’s success with his new album. We place more focus on his music than we do on his history as an abuser. And sadly, this isn’t an isolated case. Society upholds men on their talents, despite the violence they’ve caused outside of the recording booth.”

Responding on social media last month to the allegations, XXXTentacion said in an Instagram video: "I'ma fuck y'all little sisters in they throats. Everybody that called me a domestic abuser, I'm finna domestically abuse y'all little sister pussy from the back."

It's clear the music industry has a lot of problems with its treatment of the female sex. At the moment a group of women who are fighting a claim of defamation made against them by a well-known musician who has allegedly been sexually abusive have been forced to crowdfund to support legal fees.

Meanwhile, it was only this year that Kesha was able to extricate herself from the clutches of Dr Luke and release her first music since 2013. 

XXXTentacion appears to be yet another male musician undeserving of public support thanks to his misogyny. It's difficult to buy the argument that you should separate an artist's music from their behaviour, when, as proved by the mounting allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the accumulation of power through the creative industries can lend itself to abuse. 

It's true that in 2017 there have been some successes in terms of music industry responsibility. Allegations of sexual harassment against Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM led to them being dropped by their management and music label. Their tour was cancelled and their music was removed from streaming services.

Canadian punk band Zex were also dropped from their label a day after sexual assault allegations against guitarist Jo Capitalcide came to light.

That Capitol Music would still go ahead and sign the young rapper despite this backdrop, is, in my opinion, a massive failure.