DaBaby’s HIV rant and the repercussions

Rapper DaBaby has faced national backlash after comments made to the crowd at a July show. (The Guardian)

Zackary Zeller

Rolling Loud Miami’s final day on Jul. 25 boasted highly anticipated performances from artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Post Malone. Despite these attention-grabbing performers, headlines following the festival all circulated around rap artist DaBaby and his set in Miami Gardens, in which he made homophobic comments about HIV/AIDS.

“If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up,” DaBaby told the crowd. “Ladies, if your p—- smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

This comment caused swift backlash from many musicians and LGBTQ+ activists.

“We’ve been shocked to read about the HIV misinformation and homophobic statements made at a recent DaBaby show,” wrote the iconic performer Elton John on social media. “This fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic.”

DaBaby’s comments also brought condemnation from human right organizations such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

“The rhetoric that DaBaby used is inaccurate, hurtful and harmful to the LGBTQ community and the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV,” DaShawn Usher, associate director of communities of color at GLAAD, said in a statement to Billboard. “While DaBaby has made haphazard attempts to ‘apologize,’ actions need to be taken for full accountability.”

Despite the overwhelming negative response to DaBaby’s actions, the rapper doubled down on his comments on an Instagram livestream, referring to himself as “the best live performer alive.”

“My gay fans, they take care of themselves. They ain’t no nasty gay n—-s. They ain’t no junkies in the street,” DaBaby said. “I said if you ain’t sucking d— in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up. You know what my gay fans did? Put that motherf—ing light up, ’cause my gay fans ain’t going for that. They got class. They ain’t sucking no d— in no parking lot.”

This whirlwind of hateful behavior has cost the rapper numerous career opportunities. Lollapalooza, The Governor’s Ball and countless other festivals have completely removed DaBaby from their lineups. Radio stations have stopped playing his music on air, and brand endorsements, such as the clothing line BoohooMAN, have all cut ties with the rapper, citing homophobia.

In more recent events, the rapper dropped a new freestyle over BIA’s “Whole Lotta Money.” In the rhyme, DaBaby refers to himself as a “canceled a–” and raps about how he “can afford to quit doin’ this s— right now,” seemingly unfazed despite the backlash his comments have caused.

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