DaBaby Apologizes for Comments After Meeting with HIV Awareness Organizations
By: Alyssa Wilson
Rapper DaBaby has apologized for the comments he made during his performance at Rolling Loud after meeting with several HIV awareness organizations.
During his performance at the music festival, the rapper asked people to shine their flashlights if they “didn’t show up today with HIV/AIDS” and other disparaging comments about members of the LGBTQ+ community, NBC News reported. He later addressed his comments on Instagram Live, saying his gay and straight fans enjoyed the show.
After his comments, he was dropped from a campaign with boohooMAN and was removed from the lineup at several music festivals and events.
On August 4, members of Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative, Coordinating Centers, GLAAD, National Minority AIDS Council, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign, the Southern AIDS Coalition and Transinclusive Group wrote a letter to the rapper.
They said, “The open letter to DaBaby was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for.” The groups’ goal was to “call him in instead of calling him out.”
During their meeting with him on August 25, DaBaby heard personal stories from people whose lives have been impacted by HIV. “DaBaby was genuinely engaged, apologized for inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect,” the organizations said. “We appreciate that he openly and eagerly participated in this forum of Black people living with HIV, which provided him an opportunity to learn and receive accurate information.”
The organizations discussed numerous topics with the rapper, including the fact that HIV is a social justice and racial justice issue, HIV treatment and prevention, and the significant pain the stigma has on others.
Advocates cite stigmas about the virus as a critical issue. “For the second year in a row, we are finding that HIV stigma remains high while HIV knowledge remains low amongst Americans,” DaShawn Usher of GLAAD said. “We have to think critically and intentionally about how we truly equip and engage everyday Americans with the facts, resources, and scientific advancements about HIV if we want to end the epidemic.”
Reverend Rob Newells-Newton, the Director of Programs for the Black AIDS Institute, thinks it is important to give people knowledge about HIV and AIDS. He said, “Our goal is to make sure that Black people are armed with accurate information so that they can make the best choices for themselves about their sexual health.”
If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.