Op-ED: How can we best react to celebrity deaths?

Cameron Johnson, Reporter

Death is an unavoidable aspect of life, and it seems to sting a little more when a life is lost at such a young age.

Potential is lost; the opportunity for a person to achieve something great is stripped away from them prematurely.

Death at a young age, unfortunately, is a common thing, and it has been taking place in the music industry since its beginning. However, a focus on these deaths began at the end of 2017 and continuing into 2018.

Emo rapper Lil Peep died of an overdose in Nov. 2017, controversial rapper XXXTentatcion was shot and killed in June of 2018, and most recently, rapper Mac Miller overdosed in September of this year.

The masses took to social media to mourn the passing of these talented artists, but in many cases, it felt as if the Twitter tributes were posted to gain attention instead of actually mourning the loss of these artists.

Streaming numbers for XXXTentacion skyrocketed posthumously, landing his album “17” at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 a week after his death, and his single “Sad!” beat out Beyonce and Jay Z’s single “Apeshit” from their joint album.

Similarly, Mac Miller’s albums “Swimming” and “GO:OD AM” made their way back into the Billboard 200.

The cause of death for these artists is irrelevant when considering the undeniable impact these artists had on their fans and the music industry overall. The problem lies in how people are responding to the deaths.

I will admit that there isn’t a proper way to pay your respects to a celebrity for whom you’ve never met, but there has to be a better way than posting a generic, cookie-cutter post on Twitter or Facebook.

It becomes even worse when people who are unfamiliar with the artist’s work act as if they were a lifelong fan and devastated by the loss. That is when it starts to become disrespectful to the artist and their music.

It is disheartening to see floods of people saying how they grew up on Mac Miller, and connected with XXXTentacion when in reality it will most likely lead to likes and retweets. Is that what it’s really about?

I believe the best way to remember these artists who have passed away is to continue to listen to their music and be moved by it. We are lucky to live in a time where their music is on demand to us anytime and anywhere.

Mac Miller, XXXTentacion, and Peep respectively deserve to be remembered in unique ways reflecting their music, not by masses of RIP tweets.