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The Grammys should not posthumously honor XXXTentacion

Katie Teas, staff columnist

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The world often comes to a halt when an artist dies. We watch as our fellow concert-goers and movie-watchers mourn when a legendary performer meets an untimely death. We grieve as though they were our own friends. We honor them posthumously in an attempt to preserve their legacies.

The list of celebrities who have been celebrated after their passing grows longer with every awards season. Bob Marley received a Grammy award nearly 20 years after his death, and Amy Winehouse picked up an additional Grammy less than a year after hers.

These artists deserve recognition for the legendary work that preceded their deaths.

XXXTentacion does not.

XXXTentacion, born under the name Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was an American rapper, singer and songwriter. In what authorities assume was a botched armed robbery this past June, Onfroy was murdered at a Florida motorcycle dealership.

Onfroy’s death was met with mixed emotions. For his fans, his passing was a complete tragedy, the loss of an iconic musician. For his opposition, it was the downfall of an abuser.

In September 2017, excerpts of a whopping 142-page legal testimony from Onfroy’s domestic aggravated battery case was released to the public. In this testimony, an alleged ex-girlfriend claims Onfroy committed a number of domestic violence offenses during their relationship, including punching and strangling her as she carried Onfroy’s unborn child.

After Onfroy’s death, his case was closed. Contrary to what many of his supporters believe, this is not the equivalent of a non-guilty verdict; the case was simply closed because of his passing.

After his death, the music awards scene buzzed as rumors dropped that the Grammy Awards are considering honoring Onfroy posthumously during the 2019 show, which are Feb. 10. In the wake of other artists dying, with zero allegations of violence and zero mention of potential recognition, the thought of celebrating Onfroy’s music despite his brutal allegations feels like a slap in the face, especially to those who have also suffered at the hands of abusers.

Though Onfroy’s case was never officially settled, it is our duty to believe survivors. The Recording Academy has absolutely no business honoring XXXTentacion following the horrific crimes that he has been accused of.

Just days ago, Onfroy received a posthumous award from the American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. In October, he also received the BET Best New Artist Award.

Rumors of a possible Grammy nomination arose after Onfroy’s team confirmed to Vulture News that he has already been submitted for Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Alternative Album, Record of the Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rock Song.

The Grammys will now face a crucial decision: to celebrate an artist with a troubling past and a significant impact on the musical world, or honor victims of abuse across the globe.

If the Grammys are to award Onfroy with any posthumous award despite his allegations, the decision won’t come as a surprise. In 2012, the Grammys granted Chris Brown the Best R&B Album award; this award came three years after Brown assaulted fellow artist and then-girlfriend Rihanna, an assault that coincidentally took place the night before a past Grammys show.

As an international platform, the Grammys need to do better. To award an abuser with a prestigious honor is to tell survivors that their voices don’t matter.

XXXTentacion does not deserve to be celebrated. Survivors deserve to be heard.

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The Grammys should not posthumously honor XXXTentacion