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Mac Miller Death

Mac Miller’s Death is Tragic—But It’s Not Ariana Grande’s Fault

American rapper Mac Miller died of an alleged drug overdose on September 7. He was just 26 years old. Miller had suffered with substance abuse since the age of 15, famously admitting to Noisy that using drugs was “dangerous, dude. But they’re awesome”. The announcement shook the core of the music industry and, although I wasn’t an avid fan, it shook me. Not only did the industry lose an intelligent, energetic talent, but his death comes at an age so close to my own that it’s also a frightening reminder of our own mortality.

In a statement, Miller’s family described him as “a bright light in this world for his family, friends and fans.” Meanwhile, close friends and colleagues took to the Twittersphere to obituarise the young star. Post Malone said, “You changed so many lives. Had so much love in your heart…Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person”, while singer Charlie Puth said, “I can’t keep losing friends like this…I wish I spent more time with you these past weeks…I’m so sorry”.

Yet, erupting through these mournful messages almost as quickly as the news broke, was a more sinister and dangerous narrative: The blame for Miller’s death, in the eyes of some, was not his history of substance abuse or his mental health, but his ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande.

In a now edited article by TMZ, the outlet that first reported the death, a reporter wrote: “Miller has had trouble recently with substance abuse…in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande.” Fans of the rapper flooded the internet to lay blame at Grande’s feet. One Twitter user was reported by UNILAD as saying, “@ArianaGrande look what you did to Mac Miller! He needed support and you weren’t there for him so he could move on. Instead you got engaged with another after two weeks of dating just to f**k with Mac Miller!” Another said, “[…] Yeah I get why he would be upset and why he would wanna take drugs bc drugs stop all of the pain for a while. So honestly it is sorta her [Grande’s] fault”. Grande has since deactivated the comments section on her Instagram account following a surge of misogynistic, hateful and relentless abuse hurled at her following his death.

Elsewhere, global news outlets published loud headlines referring to the K.I.D.S artist as simply “Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend”. These shamelessly shifted the attention to Grande, which diminishes Miller’s legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist, to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star.

“Headlines referring to Miller as ‘Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend’ diminish his legacy as an accomplished musician, producer and artist to simply the ex-boyfriend of a famous pop star”

Grande also faced similar online harassment at the hands of Miller’s fans after a hit and run incident that occurred in May 2018. More recently, when cameras caught the moment a pastor touched Grande’s breast at Aretha Franklin’s funeral earlier this month, many focused instead on the length of her dress—as if that was the reason such atrocious behavior occurred.

Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men. Yoko Ono was famously blamed for the breakup of the Beatles. Rock star Courtney Love is still blamed for her husband Kurt Cobain’s drug addiction and subsequent suicide, too—a deeply harmful phenomenon that blurts out the expectation that women are obligated caretakers.

“Grande isn’t the first woman to be demonized for refusing to shoulder and absorb the trauma and behaviors of men”

Should Grande have stayed with the rapper to see him recover from his addictions before moving on? Absolutely not—especially at the expense of her own mental wellbeing—and she shouldn’t have to feel guilt for it either. It seems it’s easier to ignore the glaring, complicated and insidious disease that is addiction than it is to blame one single person—much easier if it’s an ex.

Run for President

Kanye West to Run for President

Kanye West, rap artist and husband to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, has announced that he will run for president in 2024.

This is not the first time that West has made claims on the Whitehouse. At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, he declared: “I have decided in 2020 to run for president”.

In a recent radio interview with DJ Pharris on Power 92 Chicago, he added, “Yes, 100 percent it could happen…2024”. He has further tweeted a simple “2024” and “#Kanye2024”—apparently postponing his plans to run for office.

“If I decide to do it, it will be done, I’m not going to try,” West said. He also stated that one of his biggest aims as president would be to make sure that “the medical industry flourishes”.

His other concern was for “paper”—money. “I’m not going in, when I become president, to f**k up the paper, because I tell you what? Trump ain’t f***ing up the paper. Those jobs are up, those taxes are being saved,” he said.

West’s support for conservative US president, Donald Trump is no secret. The rapper previously publicized his meeting with the president where the two discussed “multicultural issues”.

Nevertheless, West has also disagreed with certain Trump policies in the past. He informed Pharris that he “had love” for both Trump and left wing senator, Bernie Sanders.

“For someone to say you can’t ride with both sides…it’s like a modern idea of gang banging or something…even red or blue—it’s still red or blue. It’s divisions,” he said. “We don’t need to think in divisions. We need to think in arms because we’re actually one race, one people, one civilization.”

Like with most of his statements, West’s claim to run for president has received both attention and criticism. We’re undecided if West as president is the worst or best idea we’ve ever heard.

Watch the full interview with Pharris here.

Further reading: Trump’s Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Voted to Be Removed

Xxxtentacion

Controversial Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Florida Aged 20

Chart-topping US rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in South Florida on Monday, June 18.

The rapper’s latest album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, making it his second consecutive hit record.

The murder

XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was gunned down outside of a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced.

He was taken to hospital soon after where he was pronounced dead.

XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, the sheriff’s office said. He was in a black luxury vehicle and preparing to leave when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV.

Investigators say the attack may have been robbery, as a Louis Vuitton bag was taken from the back seat of the rapper’s car.

The controversy

Despite his huge popularity, XXXTentacion was often described as one of rap’s most controversial artists and was facing domestic violence, aggravated battery and false imprisonment charges stemming from 2016.

According to the Miami New Times, his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala’s depositions “detail a pattern of regular, torturous abuse that summer, with daily verbal attacks and physical incidents every three or four days.”

According to Ayala’s statement, he beat her at times, choked her, broke clothes hangers on her legs, threatened to chop off her hair or cut out her tongue, pressed knives or scissors to her face, and held her head underwater in their bathroom while threatening to drown her.

From tough upbringing to number one

XXXTentacion had a troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music.

He quickly cemented himself as the most popular artist within the SoundCloud Rap genre, defined by its languid, hazy beats and wide-ranging influences.His surging popularity was noted by the music industry and, by October 2017, he had scored a distribution agreement reportedly worth $6 million.

But his career was already being overshadowed by his legal problems. Fans were apparently unswayed, sending his latest album to number one in the US.

The tributes

The rapper, who first found fame by uploading his music onto online music platform SoundCloud, has been hailed as a breakthrough talent as tributes pour in from hip-hop luminaries in the wake of his death.

Kanye West tweeted: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.”

While rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs described XXXTentacion as “one of the most interesting people I have met.”

Among others, rapper J Cole’s tribute read: “Enormous talent and limitless potential. God bless his family, friends, and fans.”

Documentary maker Louis Theroux said: “Notwithstanding personal demons, he was a huge talent & bringing a beautiful new feel to hip hop. So sad.”