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Rosery Radar Talks with "Look At Me: XXX Tentacion" Director Sabaah Folayan

Updated: May 26


From Columbia University student to esteemed filmmaker, Sabaah Folayan is no stranger to tackling thought-provoking subjects through the lens of documentary filming. In her new documentary, “Look At Me: XXX Tentacion,” the director takes on fulfilling the task of highlighting rapper XXX Tentacion’s rise and fall, from his larger-than-life rise to fame to the people in his life that got him there, as well as his public history with domestic violence and mental health.



“It was an emotional and ethical landmine,” Folayan expressed when asked if she found the film’s creation to be a difficult process. “I had to grieve and continue to grieve this person’s death and I had to be sort of a support and a facilitator for people who were grieving more than I could ever grieve. I think just holding all of the raw, real emotion was really, really hard.”


With the added pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic and a fast-paced timeline to cover, there wasn’t much time to slow down for the documentary’s conception. Much of the film’s original footage containing clips of the rapper spanned from various points of his life, but more specifically from 2016 and beyond until his untimely death in 2018.


“I was scared going into it, I’m not going to lie,” Folayan admitted. “I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out, but I felt that it was something I was called to do.”



Folayan was selected from a slew of filmmakers to document the life and times of the rap star, ensuring to capture his story from all angles– the good, the bad, and the ugly. From XXX Tentacion’s trajectory to superstardom to his frequent engagements in violence, Folayan worked to show his life in all aspects, leaving no stone unturned. Working through trauma is a running theme in this documentary, which is something Folayan herself was willing to discuss.

“I think that a lot of my most important insights come from using myself as patient zero of how to work through past trauma in order to reach a place of feeling consistently mentally and emotionally well," said Folayan. "Mental health, for me, is at the core of my life, even in making films and following my purpose.”



Look At Me: XXX Tentacion was released on May 26, 2022, and is available to stream now on Hulu.




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