An open letter from eleven AIDS groups and HIV/AIDS advocacy and research organizations Wednesday called out rapper DaBaby for his “inaccurate and harmful comments” about people living with HIV/AIDS at Rolling Loud.
“We heard your inaccurate and harmful comments at Rolling Loud and have read your Instagram apology. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical,” the letter reads. “We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.”
Published by GLAAD, the letter comes amid attempts by DaBaby and his representatives to respond to the continued fallout from his homophobic and HIV/AIDS-phobic comments late month. Three more festivals, Music Midtown, Austin City Limits and iHeartRadio Music Festival, dropped him from their lineups in response to the controversy, bringing the total number of events removing DaBaby since his Rolling Loud performance to seven.
Denver radio station KS 107.5 canceled its Summer Jam concert entirely on Wednesday citing DaBaby’s comments. He was scheduled to headline the show. The version of Dua Lipa’s hit “Levitating” on which DaBaby featured was pulled off the air by radio platform Audacy, the second-largest radio station chain in the nation.
DaBaby issued an apology to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV/AIDS on Monday, but the statement was met with further criticism over the amount of time he spent ridiculing those that responded to him negatively without supposedly giving him room to educate himself. “Social media moves so fast that people want to demolish you before you even have the opportunity to grow, educate and learn from your mistakes,” DaBaby wrote.
Though fellow musicians Elton John and Demi Lovato offered educational resources publicly to DaBaby days before his apology, Wednesday’s letter took up DaBaby on his request with a specific focus on Black Americans living with HIV/AIDS and musicians past role in HIV/AIDS Groups and LGBTQ advocacy.
“The greatest obstacles in our work to end HIV are the compounded stigmas attached to anti-Blackness, living with HIV, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ attitudes and stereotypes, all of which are fueled by misinformation,” the letter reads. “It’s fear and stigma that keep people, particularly Black Americans, from accessing HIV prevention or care that White Americans have historically and continue to access more easily. We believe that you now have an opportunity to not just move past this unfortunate incident, but to use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.”
“We believe that anyone can be an HIV advocate by amplifying: how there is medication (PrEP) that can prevent people from getting HIV with one pill a day, how routine treatment stops the virus from being passed on by people living with the HIV, how people receiving HIV care can survive and thrive while living with it, and how open and empathetic conversations eliminate stigma,” it continued. “You can be a powerful and influential voice, especially across your home base in the South, where the Black community’s needs are notoriously under-represented across every public spectrum.”
The letter closes with the organizations asking DaBaby to engage with them in “a private, off-the-record virtual discussion” to discuss ways he can aid HIV/AIDS advocacy. “You stated you now understand how and why your comments were damaging. An open conversation holds the potential for you to now create meaningful impact by transforming from an adversary to an advocate.”
HIV/AIDS Groups: Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of A-Side Entertainment/Creative Commons