- The Magazine
Rapper DaBaby was cut from this year’s Lollapalooza lineup following outcry over comments he made about gay men and HIV last month.
During a performance at Rolling Loud in Miami on July 25, DaBaby, 29, told the audience to “put your cellphone lighter up” if they “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.”
He added: “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!”
In a statement hors before DaBaby was due to perform, Lollapalooza said it was a music festival founded on “diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love.”
“With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight,” the festival, which takes place annually in Chicago, tweeted.
Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight. Young Thug will now perform at 9:00pm on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, and G Herbo will perform at 4:00pm on the T-Mobile Stage. pic.twitter.com/Mx4UiAi4FW
— Lollapalooza (@lollapalooza) August 1, 2021
Lollapalooza canceling his performance wasn’t the only fallout for DaBaby after his comments went viral.
The Working Families Party cut him from a benefit concert, saying it had to “hold people accountable and live to our values,” while clothing retailer Bohoo ended a deal it had with the rapper.
Backlash was also swift from the music industry, including Dua Lipa who collaborated with DaBaby on a remix of “Levitating.” The singer said she was “surprised and horrified” by his comments, adding, “We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS.”
Elton John, whose AIDS Foundation has been operating since 1992, tweeted that DaBaby’s comments about HIV/AIDS “fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic.”
“HIV has affected over 70 million people globally: men, women, children and the most vulnerable people in our communities,” he wrote. “In America, a gay black man has a 50% lifetime chance of contracting HIV. Stigma and shame around HIV and homosexuality is a huge driver of this vulnerability. We need to break down the myths and judgements and not fuel these.
“You can live a long and healthy life with HIV. Treatment is so advanced that with one pill a day, HIV can become undetectable in your body so you can’t pass it onto other people,” John continued.
“Homophobic and HIV mistruths have no place in our society and industry and as musicians, we must spread compassion and love for the most marginalized people in our communities. A musician’s job is to bring people together.”
Madonna issued a rebuke to the rapper on Instagram, noting the “decades of hard won scientific research” that “can keep a person with AIDS alive for the rest of their lives.”
“I want to put my cellphone lighter up and pray for your ignorance,” the LGBTQ ally said. “No one dies of AIDS in 2 or 3 weeks anymore.”
Madonna added: “People like you are the reason we are still living in a world divided by fear. All Human beings should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or religious beliefs. AMEN.”
DaBaby responded to the controversy in his music video for “Giving What It’s Supposed to Give,” which featured the rapper holding a sign reading “AIDS.” Later, he urges viewers, “don’t fight hate with hate,” adding, “My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you.”
DaBaby, real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, went further on Twitter, apologizing to those living with HIV/AIDS and calling his comments “insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies.”
He added: “But the LGBT community… I ain’t trippin on y’all, do you. y’all business is y’all business.”
Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies 🙏🏾
But the LGBT community… I ain’t trippin on y’all, do you. y’all business is y’all business.
— DaBaby (@DaBabyDaBaby) July 27, 2021
In a statement, LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD slammed DaBaby’s comments, calling them “inaccurate, hurtful, and harmful to the LGBTQ community and the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV.”
“It is critical that DaBaby and his fans learn that people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV,” DaShawn Usher, GLAAD’s Associate Director of Communities of Color, said. “While DaBaby has made haphazard attempts to ‘apologize,’ actions need to be taken for full accountability and changes to do better in the future.
“It further confirms what GLAAD reported last year in the State of HIV Stigma Study that stigma and misinformation around HIV is widespread, and there is much work to be done to educate the public, including entertainers.”
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