Look At Me: XXXTentacion – A Powerful Story of Trauma, Compassion, and Redemption


By Bri Lamontagne

Few musicians today achieve the kind of influence XXXTentacion saw during and after his lifetime. Fewer still reach the level of controversial notoriety that he did. Let alone by the young age of twenty – before his tragic and untimely death. Look At Me: XXXTentacion is an evocative, emotional, revealing documentary about the life of Jahseh Onfroy and his career as XXXTentacion.

Clearly, he made an intense impact on every person he came into contact with – in the affectionate way of his mother, the loyalty of his friends, the fascination and admiration of his fans and music producers, and in negative ways, too.

The film does not shy away from the scarier aspects of Jahseh Onfroy’s life – or his mindset. Aside from his Bipolar diagnosis, Jahseh suffered from depression in an extreme way. Like many people with these issues, he ended up channeling it into the desire to use his stardom to help other people feel less alone. Both Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, actors and comedians, described how they desire to make other people happy because they have gone through the intense pain and sorrow of depression. They’ve also discussed how medicating negatively impacted their careers (and sense of creativity).

Jahseh’s depression may have positively affected his music, as much relatable beautiful art is created from trauma, but it had a negative effect on his personal life. He felt alone often and his first true romantic relationship led to an unhealthy co-dependence and then abuse. (While his fans may believe it’s unfair to leave out the word “alleged”, I am basing my analysis on the film. I sincerely recommend watching it with an open mind. The implications are clear, based on the presentations of facts and memories in this poignant and starkly honest piece).

Mental Health and Domestic Violence are deep and intense and often avoided conversations in our nation. There are many stigmas around these topics that people fear to delve into. One of the major points of this film were to address both of these issues. There are even resource links at the end of the film designed to help people in crises. Bringing more of these types of real-life scenarios to light – especially when it’s about the people that we idolize – is an important step towards breaking down the stigmas. Without the stigmas, more people of a variety of backgrounds will feel confident and open to seeking the help they need.

Some people can’t understand the concept of separating the art from the artist. On a deep level, often art is based on the life of the artist, so that makes sense. Even Jahseh says, in the film, “You need to know who you’re [dealing] with”. However, he also separated himself into his two sides. One: the traumatized kid who didn’t know how to become a responsible adult or deal with affection. Two: the responsible, dedicated musician who cared so deeply about “the broken people” that he hoped to save through his music and motivational speeches.

According to the film, it’s clear that he eventually realized that living in this duality was not healthy for him – partially due to interventions from friends and family, as well as therapy and time served in prison. Towards the tragic and unexpected end of his life, he was re-integrating the higher version of himself (his post-villain persona) into his personal life. It’s unfortunate for his loved ones – and for the world – that he never got to show the world the complete transformation that he’d gone through.

Look At Me is a beautiful celebration of life and a heartfelt audio/visual eulogy for Jahseh Onfroy. It is a testament to the lives he touched. As the artist XXXTentacion, but even more so as a friend, lover, and son.

Available now on Hulu.

Download the “98XXX18” XXXTentacion (Live Mix) – DJ JB Joogen FREE!!


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