Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@dualipa and @dababy
Dua Lipa's ‘Levitating’ remix, featuring the rapper DaBaby, is notably absent from the first 2022 Grammys ballot following the rapper’s homophobic rant in July.
While performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami, the 29-year-old rapper said: "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.
He was subsequently dropped by several large music events and was called out by Sir Elton John and multiple HIV organisations. He also had his credit removed from the remix before he eventually apologised.
"Most likely Lipa was saving voters"
At the time, Lipa said she was "surprised and horrified" by her collaborator’s comments, adding in a statement: "I know my fans know where my heart lies and that I stand 100% with the LGBTQ community. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS."
Noticing that the Future Nostalgia track wasn't being considered for the next Grammys, taking place on 31 January 2022, Variety’s Chris Willman wrote last week: "It should have been eligible, even though it was off an album that was up for multiple awards last year - because the single had its major impact this year, and because it was a new remix, with DaBaby as an added featured artist. But Lipa presumably could only have submitted the DaBaby [version], and that would have been a lot to ask of voters, to pretend that the persona-non-grata rapper really wasn’t on it. Most likely Lipa was saving voters having to agonize over choosing between their love for her and their dread of giving the thumbs-up to a guy still considered toxic by much of the industry for his homophobic comments."
The original song is nominated for Favourite Pop Song category at this month's American Music Awards. Lipa herself is nominated for Female Pop Artist and the Future Nostalgia album for Pop Album.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ organisation Relationship Unleashed has given its blessing for DaBaby to begin performing again. A rep has confirmed they and other groups sat down with the star in August to educate him on his problematic comments.
Relationship Unleashed's CEO Gwendolyn D. Clemons told TMZ that DaBaby had listened to them and realised he'd been ignorant of the facts before.
Attitude has approached a rep for Lipa for comment.
The Attitude Awards issue is out now.