DaBaby apologises for inaccurate comments in meeting with HIV organisations

The 29-year-old rapper made a string of disparaging remarks about people with HIV and gay people in July.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: YouTube

DaBaby has apologised for his offensive and wildly inaccurate comments about people living with HIV/Aids and gay people in a meeting with leaders from multiple HIV organisations.

The 29-year-old rapper, who’s faced a strong backlash over his comments, told the audience at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami in July: “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two, three weeks, then put your cellphone light up,” as well as other homophobic remarks.

DaBaby has had trouble getting to this point with several attempts at an apology, including a written statement deleted from his Instagram account.

“Genuinely engaged”

A statement released by GLAAD on Tuesday (31 August) says DaBaby “genuinely engaged” with representatives from nine HIV organisations in a meeting that took place on Wednesday 25 August.

The meeting followed an open letter sent by the same organisations, and many others, calling on DaBaby to engage following the fallout over his comments. In the letter, dated 4 August, GLAAD and others said they “must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities,” especially Black Americans and queer and transgender people of colour, who are disproportionally affected by HIV. 

In Tuesday’s statement, GLAAD says the letter was a way to “call him [DaBaby] in instead of calling him out,” with the idea of sharing their stories with him. The statement goes on to say that the rapper apologised for his hurtful comments and received people’s stories with “deep respect”.

“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 to receive accurate information,” it adds.

In their 2021 End HIV Stigma report, GLAAD has found that only 48 percent of Americans feel knowledgeable about HIV and that only 64 percent of respondents knew that medications exist to protect someone from contracting HIV. Sadly, 42 percent of people knew that people living with HIV who are on proper medications cannot transmit the virus.

The group hopes that with this education, DaBaby can help educate his fans and help prevent the spread of misinformation around HIV. DaBaby has seemingly yet to comment on the meeting himself.

"You can live a long and healthy life with HIV"

DaBaby’s comments sparked a fierce backlash against the rapper, with him being dropped by several musical events including Manchester’s Parklife, as well as from his brand deal with BoohooMAN.

Sir Elton John slammed DaBaby, saying he and the Foundation under his name were “shocked” at the comments, which Sir Elton said, “fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic.”

“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 judgments 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.”

DaBaby was also called out by numerous other artists including Dua Lipa, with whom he collaborated on a remix of her song ‘Levitating’. Last week it was announced that DaBaby’s credit on the song had been removed from the Billboard 100 listing.

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