Fans in line at XXXTentacion's memorial.EXPAND
Fans in line at XXXTentacion's memorial.
Douglas Markowitz

At XXXTentacion's Memorial, Fans Gather to Pay Respects to the Rapper

The body was surrounded by bouquets of artificial black roses with silver leaves, along with black-suited security guards. Jahseh Onfroy's skin was pallid and waxy, his hair braided into two distinctive horns, one black and the other blond. He was dressed in burgundy pants and a blue denim jacket, its collar pulled high to hide the bullet wound that ended his life.

Hundreds of fans waited hours in line at the BB&T Center for a chance to peer into his coffin and pay their last respects to the musician, who was killed in a shooting last Monday.

The event took the form of an open-casket viewing, albeit an unconventional one in the middle of a huge sports arena. A video montage of X's career — from interview clips and concert footage to a news report of a riot that broke out in Los Angeles after his death — flashed on the Jumbotron. His music played on the loudspeakers, and the somber nature of songs such as "Sad!" and "Revenge" were oddly fitting for the occasion.

Fans wait outside XXXTentacion's memorial.EXPAND
Fans wait outside XXXTentacion's memorial.
Douglas Markowitz

Doors opened for the viewing at noon, but a massive line had formed in the hot sun outside the arena by 11:30 a.m. Almost no one dressed formally — attendees donned streetwear like Bape and Commes des Garçons or homemade T-shirts and items from X's brand, Revenge. The predominant color was, of course, black.

X's multi-ethnic fan base was apparent, with black, Latino, white, and Asian mourners lining up to see him off. Most fans were no older than 20 and rushed to the doors as security began letting people in, some expecting guest appearances by familiar faces such as Ski Mask the Slump God. Chatter became less pronounced as they entered the floor and began waiting in the snaking line, and the full weight of the moment began to wash over.

Kilo and EnvyEXPAND
Kilo and Envy
Douglas Markowitz

One young woman in black used a tissue to wipe away tears, while a boy in a Young Thug hoodie barely held back sobs. A section was set aside beyond the casket for those overwhelmed with emotion to sit and collect themselves.

Every so often, the line lurched to a halt as a famous mourner arrived. Denzel Curry, ignoring chants of "ULT! "ULT!" from the crowd, was spotted walking out of the arena before doors opened to the public at noon. Inside, fans in line craned their necks for a glimpse of Lil Uzi Vert or Lil Yachty as they paid their respects.

Rather than engaging with fans, the other rappers stuck together. For them, X's death was obviously the loss of a friend and a member of their community.

Outside, fans lingered as dark clouds formed to the north. Jack, a 14-year-old wearing a Revenge hoodie and braids, said that he felt "like the world ended" when he heard Onfroy had died but that he "felt closer to him than... ever" upon seeing him today.

XXXTentacion fan Taylor, age 20, bleached and braided his hair in honor of the slain musician.EXPAND
XXXTentacion fan Taylor, age 20, bleached and braided his hair in honor of the slain musician.
Douglas Markowitz

Nearby stood Kilo and Envy, two performers from Members Only, Onfroy's rap collective.

"It felt worse than a heartbreak," Kilo said of his friend's death. But seeing X at the memorial helped him find closure. "It put me at peace when I went up there." 

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