0days0hours0minutes0seconds

Last year, controversial rapper, XXXTentacion, was shot dead outside a car dealership in Florida by Dedrick Devonshay Williams of Pompano Beach. While the act was one of brutal violence and unpremeditated horror, XXX (real name Jahseh Onfroy) could hardly be said to have led a spotless life himself. The reports of the domestic abuse suffered by Onfroy's girlfriend at his hands are enough to make even the most hard-hearted of us wince.

But one comedian has faced a huge backlash for making a joke out of his death. While the joke has been taken down by Comedy Central, many have stood up for up-and-comer, Dina Hashem, claiming that nothing should be off-limits for comedy. What's your take? Scroll on to untangle this complicated situation.

Born January 23rd, 1998, Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy was better known as XXXTentacion.

He was a pioneering figure in the newer genre of emo-rap, with many viewing him as something of a musical wunderkind.

Like many in the genre, XXXTentacion rose to fame on Soundcloud.

via: Getty Images

In spite of his young age, XXXTentacion was hugely prolific, having created three studio albums in his three active years.

But music was not what XXXTentacion was solely known for.

via: Getty Images

His entire short life was shrouded with controversy. In fact, he first attacked a man at the age of six and spent much of his youth in and out of juvenile detention centers.

But the majority of the controversy surrounding XXX regards his treatment of his ex-girlfriend.

He dated Geneva Ayala between 2016 and 2017 - but, during the entire period, he subjected his girlfriend to a horrendous amount of abuse. This includes repeated rapes and beatings.

It didn't end there.

XXX also kidnapped his then-pregnant girlfriend, threatening to murder both her and their unborn child.

Eventually, Geneva Ayala took XXX to court on a myriad of domestic abuse charges.

The full details of her testimony were recounted in this Pitchfork feature - but we have to warn you, this makes for a pretty horrendous read.

Some of Ayala's injuries were truly horrific.

via: Go Fund Me

She has since set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the surgery needed on her orbital bone following the months of violence that she suffered. Again, we have to warn you, there are images on the page that many may find triggering.

Aside from a history of horrifying domestic abuse, there was another scandal which followed XXXTentacion around.

via: Shutterstock

While in prison, XXX claimed that a man looked at him, which he took as homosexual flirtation. His response? To beat the fellow inmate almost to death.

What makes this all the more shocking is how XXXTentacion talked about the incident.

via: Soundcloud

Speaking on the No Jumper podcast, XXX said "He was just staring at me! You feel me? So like I’m strangling him and he’s leaking, leaking [blood and bodily fluids] like type-s**t, and I’m about to kill this n****r . And luckily, to my luck, luckily – because, I wouldn’t be here today speaking to you or be this successful – luckily a guard came over and saw this."

In fact, this is sort of what categorizes his whole attitude to violence.

In an obituary, the Guardian commented on his total lack of regret for his vile actions, saying that he, "will be remembered mostly for the unusually cruel violence he committed on vulnerable people, particularly his ex-girlfriend, crimes for which he never expressed remorse."

On June 18th of 2018, XXXTentacion's life was cut short.

He was leaving the Riva Motorsports dealership in Deerfield Beach, Florida, when he was blocked in the parking lot and attacked by two men who were attempting to steal his bag of cash, amounting to $50,000.

During the struggle which ensured, XXX was shot numerous times.

via: Getty Images

Dedrick Devonshay Williams was arrested two days after the shooting and was eventually found guilty of first degree, unpremeditated murder.

In spite of the controversies, XXXTentacion still had a remarkable number of fans.

And, weirdly enough, it seems as though the people who connected to XXX's music could seemingly discount his violent, dangerous, and sociopathic persona and just enjoy the tunes.

Since his death, XXX has had a few records posthumously released.

And every time he does, it seems like his legion of fans crawl out of the woodwork to laud the release totally visionary and ingenious, and focus on the "tragedy" of XXX's death - rather than the numerous tragedies of his life.

But one woman has hit headlines this weekend in relation to XXXTentacion.

This is comedian Dina Hashem. She's up-and-coming and recently featured in her very own Comedy Central special.

And, in a promo for her performance, Comedy Central posted a snipped online.

In the clip, Hashem made some jokes about the death of XXXTentacion, (presumably) with the mindset that, as such a problematic and generally terrible person, he was fair game for comedy. But there was a pretty much instantaneous (and incredibly violent) backlash.

Although many have spoken out in support of Hashem.

Because, if XXX's fans truly find mocking violence and death to be as contemptible as they say, it seems odd that they continue to support their fave rapper's lyrics (and actions).

It seems something of a double standard.

If you want to speak out against violence and death, choosing XXXTentacion as your poster boy seems like a contradiction.

In fact, many comedians have backed Hashem.

Some have shared far more offensive jokes about the reaction of XXXTentacion's fans than the original Comedy Central bit which sparked all this drama.

Some of them, even we think push the limits.

But we suppose there's that famous ideology that, if a joke is funny, it no longer has to answer to being offensive.

Many of the jokes had us wincing.

But, hey, at least they put the softer, generally far less offensive nature of Hashem's original joke into perspective.

Although some had a more measured response.

They calmly pointed out the hypocrisy of responding to a joke about death with literal death threats. Pick a side, people! Is death serious, or not?

Even so, Hashem has made an apology.

Although she doesn't quite say that she was wrong for making the joke, she does comment that she had no intention of causing such a huge ruckus online.

Here's the original joke that sparked this whole conversation.

If you can't play it aloud, here's what Hashem says. "Is anyone still mourning XXXTentacion? He’s a rapper, who was murdered, he’s dead now. He was shot, he was on his way to buy a car with $50,000 in cash and somebody shot him and took the money, which is very tragic. But I also think it would be a very good Venmo commercial. That’s the first thing I thought when I heard that. Like, 'I don’t have Venmo, I should get Venmo.'"

In comparison to everything that you've read so far, it seems like pretty tame stuff, right?

But, hopefully, this story will spark an important conversation about whether we can separate artist from art, about whether we're allowed to make jokes about painful topics, and, most importantly, how we should treat one another - both in life and online.