Feature Image: Lil Peep by Alex Reside
Living the lifestyle associated with the rich and famous is a dream for many; the lure of wealth, popularity, a-list parties and of course, finding yourself in the spotlight for your talents, living your dreams – it’s hard to imagine many people turning down these opportunities. Unfortunately, with this type of celebrity lifestyle comes and extremely dark reality; with the underbelly of substance abuse, addiction, mental illness and ultimately overdoses becoming common occurrences.
Being enmeshed in this environment, especially for younger artists, can be an extreme danger to their health. When this type of overindulgent, dangerous behaviour is not only normalised, but encouraged, it’s almost inevitable for tragedy to occur. Surrounded by enablers and sycophants, those who may be in vulnerable positions may find themselves in very dark places, whether intentional or otherwise.
Unfortunately, 21 year old rapper Lil Peep fell victim to this type of lifestyle, with his death ruled as an accidental overdose due to the deadly drug fentanyl, combined with the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and a slew of other substances such as cocaine and opiates. It was found that Lil Peep had two times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system – and he was evidently unaware of this fact.
When it comes to these tragedies, it’s difficult to simply pin the blame on one singular person or circumstance – as a multitude of factors, and people contribute to these outcomes. Lil Peep was on tour when he overdosed, and now in a new development, his mother Liza Womack has sued his management First Access Entertainment.
Womack alleges that the management company actively contributed to the circumstances surrounding Lil Peep’s death. In an extremely detailed Rolling Stone report published in March this year by David Peisner, ‘The Torment and Tragedy of Lil Peep’, the journalist delves into the career of life and career of Lil Peep until his final days. The type of sycophantic, enabling behaviour the star was surrounded matches Womack’s statements as she hits First Access Entertainment with this lawsuit.
She alleges that Lil Peep was encouraged to use substances by his managers, and when asked to leave during his tour was denied the opportunity. Womack also alleges an incident where pills were provided by management directly to the star. First Access Entertainment have denied these allegations, releasing a statement surrounding their involvement in his destructive behaviour. An excerpt of the statement reads:
“…We consistently encouraged Peep to stop abusing drugs and to distance himself from the negative influence of the drug users and enablers with whom he chose to associate…
It is extremely disappointing that Peep’s mother would file this meritless lawsuit, since she is well aware of the numerous efforts made by First Access and Chase Ortega to steer her son away from his concerning lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, in spite of our best efforts, he was an adult who made his own decisions and opted to follow a different, more destructive path.”
While the lifestyle Lil Peep was engaged in could be said to end in an inevitable darkness – the fact still remains that, even though he was an adult; he was only 21 years old – and being so young and thrust into such high-risk situations as fame grows, along with this type of behaviour normalized within these industries: the youth entering these lifestyles are at an extremely high risk of such painful exploitation, and may ultimately lose their lives due to it. It’s hard to pin blame on specifics, but it is evident the way this type of lifestyle is approached and encouraged needs to be dramatically changed.