Note: this article contains graphic content. A video linked in the article also contains coarse language that may offend some readers.
Even in our current cycle of amplified political violence and ratcheted-up rhetoric, some things are still just disturbing.
Floridian rapper XXXTentacion has released what is perhaps one of the most offensive music videos in recent memory. In the video, the rapper rails against the killings of Emmett Till, Philando Castile, Rodney King, and Michael Brown by police officers and against the recent racial protests in Charlottesville and Ferguson.
Throughout the video, various racial acts of violence occur. The rapper re-enacts the shooting of Philando Castile, the black man who is killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last year, and the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.
However, much of the violence in the video is perpetrated by XXXTentacion himself. The opening scene in a classroom shows XXXTentacion leading the students in the brutal beating of their white teacher. XXXTentacion raps over his unconscious or dead body for a good portion of the video.
The final disturbing scene involves the rapper showing a young black child how to hang white child with a noose. XXXTentacion puts the noose around the white boy's head, pulls on the rope and hangs him. The young black child looks up at the twitching white boy's legs. The rapper, still holding the rope, performs a social justice spoken word routine.
The video has disturbed many, particularly those in the music scene. However, the video is not all just talk. XXXTentacion has a long, disturbing history of domestic violence. Here is the testimony alleging abuse of his pregnant girlfriend after an altercation, according to the music site Uproxx:
He then started elbowing, head-butting, and punching her. He strangled her until she almost passed out. He took her to the bathroom and demanded one last time that she tell him everything or he would kill her in the bathtub. She couldn’t even recognize her face in the mirror—it looked “distorted”—and her left eye was completely shut and “leaking blood.” She was losing vision. She vomited.
The video was posted this week on YouTube, a Google-owned platform, which has yet to be age-restricted or flagged it for offensive content.
Google created a firestorm for itself this year with the firing of an engineer who challenged politically correct, Silicon Valley norms. We will keep you posted if Google decides that a video depicting the hanging of a child is also politically incorrect and removes it.