I know there’s some concern, after last week’s “Beavis and Butthead” reference, and a blog post in which I compared Talib Kweli to Mike Yanagita from the movie Fargo, that I apparently haven’t owned a television in over 20 years, but you’ll just have to bear with me. I’m an old-ass man. But at least I haven’t dropped dead, right? There’s a lot of that going around these days.
In a scene old enough that it may or may not be the origin of the phrase “Lighten up, Francis,” a guy named Francis, in the movie Stripes, warned his bunkmates that if any teh ghey guys touched him, he would kill them. He also didn’t want anyone touching his things (which is basic courtesy), nor did he prefer to be called Francis.
I was reminded of this scene when I read a horrific passage, in an article on XXXTentacion in a Florida alt-weekly, in which the rapper supposedly beat a teh ghey kid to within an inch of his life. Locked up in juvenile hall for something or other, he’d been forced to room with the victim, whom he described using a term that’s no longer considered appropriate.
There may have been concern that, if the victim overpowered him, XXXTentacion wouldn’t have been able to defend himself. Even as an adult, he only stands 5'6" tall and weighs 125 pounds with his shoes on, i.e. literally the exact same height and weight I was the day I was born. Tentacion warned a guard that if his roomie did anything he disapproved of, he would kill him.
One day when he was naked, as one occasionally is, he noticed his roommate staring at him, possibly sizing him up. Apparently not approving of this, Tentacion says he curb-stomped the kid, like in the movie American History X, and tried to choke him out. When the guard arrived, he’d smeared the kid’s blood all over his face and chest. He may or may not have resembled DMX on the cover of Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.
You can tell that XXXTentacion really is mental, because he was entirely unconcerned that the victim—who was both teh ghey and in jail, where unprotected bufuing is rampant—may have been HIV-positive.
Fortunately, it’s not clear if any of this really happened. There’s no record of such an assault having occurred. Tentacion says the guard didn’t report the incident, maybe because he warned the guard beforehand what would happen, and in the warped logic of the mentally ill, that meant it was okay. Arguably, Tentacion should have been moved to a different cell when he told the guard that he feared for the sanctity of his then-burgeoning manhood, and the guard may have realized that.
Tentacion told this story on an episode of the popular No Jumper podcast, hosted by the controversial Adam22, who later became his manager. With his accomplishments in riding BMX bicycles, which is a sport, his enviable drug use and his well-documented trysts with ethnic runaways-ternt-Instagram models, 22 is the kind of person you want to impress, and Tentacion may have been exaggerating.
Maybe there really was a fight but it wasn’t nearly as brutal as Tentacion said it was. Or maybe he got effed in the a, and he made this story up to save face.
Regardless, I’m concerned that the Internets aren’t sufficiently sympathetic to the plight of XXXTentacion. I go on Black People Twitter, only because I need something to write about, and I see people complaining that the heroic, similarly tiny Kendrick Lamar lobbied Spotify to put Tentacion’s songs back on Rap Caviar. Meanwhile, I’m seeing a lot of the same people praise this new Kanye album.
Kanye is fortunate that his new album, ye, in which he claims to suffer from mental illness, is arriving on the heels of a number of deaths-by-suicide of random but nevertheless valued members of the white community, including milfy handbag designer Kate Spade, EDM DJ Avicii and Verne Troyer, thus giving hipster crypto-racists an excuse to forgive him for aligning himself with the alt-right, i.e. actual Nazis.
Tentacion says he’s got another album coming out this summer. It might be necessary for him to declare, on the album’s cover, that he’s mental and therefore shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions, since I guess those are the rules now.
Take it easy on yourself,