Today, The Guardian revealed that DJ Rashad likely did not die due to a drug overdose. Initially, many outlets ran with the unsubstantiated story that DJ Rashad's death was a suspected drug overdose. The fact that the music community lost a legendary artist at the young age of 34 due to a blood clot is unfortunate enough. However, the fact that the media jumped to conclusions regarding his death is almost as disheartening as Rashad Harden's death itself.
DJ Rashad was a human being, and an exceptional one at that. Whenever someone passes away, they should receive a proper level of respect. In Rashad's case, the media immediately jumped to conclusions regarding the cause of death. When someone's cause of death isn't immediately apparent, there is absolutely no reason journalists should speculate on what led to the death. Speculation is disrespectful to the deceased, and any conjecture immediately calls a writer's integrity into question.
It was initially reported that Rashad was found with drug paraphernalia next to his body. Consequently, the police blindly connected the dots, stating that it was an "apparent drug overdose." Because of this, the media might point their collective finger at the police and say, "The police told us! Don't blame us!" However, since when has any self-respecting journalist taken a police department's statement at face value—especially when it involves a death with no visible signs of injury? I don't care what someone's death looks like to the uninformed eye; any media outlet should take the hard facts of a situation and formulate their own informed opinion. In this case, it was evident DJ Rashad's cause of death could have been something other than a drug overdose. Furthermore, it turns out that the paraphernalia found by DJ Rashad's body was solely related to marijuana rather than hard drugs.
If the only media outlets that jumped to the drug overdose conclusion were small blogs, I would not have had the urge to compose this article. Unfortunately, some of the most popular outlets in the world stated that DJ Rashad's death was an apparent drug overdose. The following outlets ran with the suspected drug overdose story: The Guardian, Billboard, BuzzFeed, People Magazine, Complex, Rolling Stone, and the NY Daily News.
This is a call to all members of the media. If you are going to report on someone's death, please honor their life. DJ Rashad poured his entire life into music, and he deserved to have his untimely death reported on in a respectful manner. Jumping to conclusions always has the potential to end poorly, and in this case, it tainted the beautiful life of DJ Rashad.
Cover photo credit: Collin Hughes