Rapper Takeoff was shot and died in Houston on Tuesday morning; the incident was captured on camera, broadcast online, and even shared by media sources like TMZ.
Some individuals have a tendency to view celebrity deaths as entertainment when they happen.
This kind of exploitation is especially common when it comes to Black celebrities. Consider the stolen images of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter accident and, more recently, the bystander-shot footage of the rapper PnB Rock’s fatal shooting that went viral on Instagram in September.
In addition to being a well-known and famous musician, Takeoff was also a person, according to trauma-informed psychotherapist Lizandra Leigertwood.
READ MORE: Takeoff dead body pictures and Videos
“It’s quite disgusting that (video is) being circulated because it’s a horrific thing for a family to experience and a traumatic thing for people to bear witness to,” Leigertwood says.
“It’s dehumanizing. It’s as if it’s not a big deal when really it’s showing a murder that is horrific.”
The video of Takeoff’s death and what it says about those who watch it
Most people would never record the death of a stranger, let alone someone they know. So why do we feel more comfortable consuming famous people’s tragedies?
Since the video’s publication, more people are searching on Google for images and videos of Takeoff’s murder. Our desensitization to real-life trauma, according to clinical psychologist Carla Manly, is in part due to social media.
People frequently “do more egregious, unwholesome things for attention,” she claims, at the expense of other people’s feelings, as a result of the present preoccupation with likes, views, and clicks.
We don’t stop to consider the person or how it affects their friends, family, and supporters. Instead, the sensationalized nature of it draws our attention. The profit-making side of commercializing their experiences, according to Manly, the author of “Joy from Fear.”
As of Wednesday morning, the footage, which blurs Takeoff’s body, remained on TMZ’s website. TMZ did not immediately return USA TODAY’s request for comment.
According to Leigertwood, “people sometimes have this idea that (celebrities) put themselves out there, they owe us inside information about their lives” when it comes to high-profile individuals.
These videos do, however, have negative effects. Manly warns that frequent exposure to violence de-sensitizes us, making it even more challenging to show empathy. Additionally, this causes additional stress for the victims’ loved ones because they now have to worry about their trauma spreading online.
“I live in fear every day of being on social media and these popping up,” Vanessa Bryant testified in the recent trial over gruesome photos from the helicopter crash that killed her husband. “I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up.”