By Gregory Crofton
I was listening to “Rocket Hour,” Elton John’s weekly podcast-radio show, when he told his audience that the new documentary about XXXTentacion was really good. No one knows pop music better than Elton, so I believed him.
First I found a condensed version of it on YouTube, and then re-watched the full-length film on Hulu. Elton was right. It is raw and compelling, just like the artist it’s focused on.
“Look at Me: XXXTentacion” tells the story of Jahse Onfroy, a Hip Hop star who found success at 17 on social media. He took a stage name inspired by the porn industry, and then quickly gained notoriety when very serious domestic violence charges were filed against him.
There was more to Jahse than just his music, more than being a bi-polar 20-year-old shot who was shot to death during a car robbery, a crime that likely could have been avoided if he had shown caution. But XXXTentacion had never been a cautious person.
He was also much more than the fact that he beat the “love of his life,” according to his mother, Cleo, who co-produced the doc. He was in the process of maturing and on his way to becoming a better person. He no longer wanted to be the villain.
It’s the director, Sabaah Folayan (Whose Streets?), a Black woman who knows how to tell a difficult story, pulled the loose threads of Jahse Onfroy’s short life into a powerful story, one that reflects our shattered times.
Check out the trailer below.