Unless you’ve been on a no-electronics retreat in a secluded forest, chances are you’ll have seen DaBaby’s name plastered all over social media over the past week – and not in a positive light, either.
The rapper, who has been embroiled in several controversies throughout his career, was condemned by social media and industry alum for his uneducated comments about the LGBTQ+ community during his set at Rolling Loud Miami.
It’s been a turbulent journey since with DaBaby releasing a series of confusing Instagram Stories doubling down on his views, a bizarre music video referencing the incident and an apology that may or may not have been written by him.
Here, we explain what’s happened so far and how his career has taken a dive as a result of his rampant homophobia.
Who is DaBaby?
DaBaby is a rapper, mostly associated with his Roddy Ricch-assisted single Rockstar, which topped the charts in multiple countries across the world including the US and UK. It was a TikTok craze for a bit.
He is also known as a featured artist on Cry Baby with Megan Thee Stallion, Panini with Lil Nas X and Levitating with Dua Lipa; the latter has become one of the most popular singles of the decade (so far).
If you’ve heard his name elsewhere, he also made headlines due to his one-sided feud with – wait for it – Jojo Siwa.
What did he say?
During his set at Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium on 25 July, DaBaby made derogatory comments about his gay fans “sucking d**k” in the parking lot and claimed HIV positive people will “die in two to three weeks”.
The 29-year-old told the audience: “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.”
Although it had no relevance to his set whatsoever, DaBaby felt the need to continue further: “Ladies, if your p***y smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”
DaBaby then brought out Torey Lanez – who was accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot last year – onto the stage in a jumbo suit.
Everybody involved going to hell pic.twitter.com/o1zCeKYOde
— ♋︎ (@LUXURY0RN0THING) July 26, 2021
Has he apologised?
Hmm. Define ‘apology’.
After his remarks received widespread backlash online, DaBaby doubled down on his ignorant views in a series of bizarre Instagram Stories.
“What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show. It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. It just don’t work like that,” he explained.
“Because, regardless of what y’all motherf**kers are talking about and how the internet twisted up my motherf**king words, me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the f**k up.
“I’m talking about my boy that was at the front of stage left where I jumped, ask him. He got clips all on his shit, the whole night was recording.
“We were turning up the whole night. My boy had the crop top on front row. He out there in that jungle, in that water. He out there cutting up. He knows the words to the song. I’m rapping them b***hes with ’em.”
DaBaby proceeded to tell those who weren’t present at the show to “shut the f**k up” before adding: “Come f**k with the live show, killer, gay or straight.”
He also claimed he wasn’t “going on a rant” and called his speech a “call to action” because he’s the “best live performer”.
“You interact with your fans, you get what I’m saying? All the lights went up, gay or straight. You want to know why? Because even my gay fans don’t got f**king AIDS. They don’t got AIDS. My gay fans, they take care of theyself, they ain’t going for that. They ain’t no junkies,” he added.
“I said if you ain’t sucking d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone light up. You know what my gay fans did? Put that motherf**king light up. My gay fans ain’t going for that. They got class. They ain’t sucking no d**k in no parking lot.”
After saying his “gay fans have standards,” he concluded his video by criticising those who reacted negatively to his homophobic comments. Again, he kindly asked them to “shut the f**k up” and to not “disturb my motherf**king gay fans and make them feel uncomfortable in they skin”.
“Gay or straight, or goddamn both, or whatever. Don’t none of that shit matter to me,” he continued. “What matter to me, when I’m on that stage, is putting on the show for anybody and everybody that’s out there and that’s what the f**k I did.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, DaBaby then released a music video for his track Giving What It’s Supposed To Give, in which he can be seen holding a sign that says “AIDS” while rapping problematic lyrics such as: “B****, we like AIDS, I’m on your ass, we on your ass, b****, we won’t go ‘way.”
He ended the video with a title card that reads, “Don’t fight hate with hate. My apologies for being me in the same way you want the freedom to be you” – basically equating the right for LGBTQ+ people to exist without being publicly discriminated against with his “right” to spew homophobia.
Following his Instagram rant and release of the music video, DaBaby’s career took a bit of a hit (which we’ll address later) and he released an actual apology because, you know, money. Whether it was written by him or his management is open to interpretation.
“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,” he told his Instagram followers on 2 August.
“As a man who has had to make his own way from very difficult circumstances, having people I know publicly working against me – knowing that what I needed was education on these topics and guidance – has been challenging.”
DaBaby said he appreciates the “many people” who reached out to him privately to “offer wisdom, education and resources” about the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.
“That’s what I needed and it was received. I want to apologise to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made,” he added. “Again, I apologise for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important. Love to all. God bless.”
On 8 August, he removed the apology from his feed. You can’t make this up!
What consequences has he faced?
Due to his remarks, DaBaby was dropped from several festivals and events such as Lollapalooza, Governors Ball Music Festival, Parklife Festival, Day N Vegas, Austin City Limits Festival, Music Midtown and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
The official Twitter account for Lollapalooza wrote: “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.”
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
boohooMan also ended their collaboration with the rapper.
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In a statement, a representative for the fashion brand said “diversity and inclusion are part of the boohoo Groups DNA and we pride ourselves on representing the diverse customers we serve across the globe,” before affirming their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
How has the industry reacted?
Many of DaBaby’s industry peers called him out on social media after his comments made headline news.
Kanye West even removed a remix of his song Nah Nah Nah with DaBaby and 2 Chainz from all streaming platforms.
Dua Lipa wrote: “I’m surprised and horrified at DaBaby comments. I really don’t recognize this as the person I worked with. 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.”
Madonna, who has continuously advocated for LGBTQ+ rights throughout her 40+ year career, read him for filth. Alongside a video of his performance, the Queen of Pop wrote: “A message to DaBaby – if you’re going to make hateful remarks to the LGBTQ+ community about HIV/AIDS then know your facts.
“After decades of hard won scientific research— there are now life saving medicines available to children born with HIV, to people who contract HIV through blood transfusions, dirty needles or exchange of bodily fluids.
“These new ARV’s can keep a person with AIDS alive for the rest of their lives! AIDS is not transmitted by standing next to someone in a crowd.”
Referencing his “cellphone lighter” comment from Rolling Loud, Madonna continued to tear him apart as she wrote further: “I want to put my cellphone lighter up and pray for your ignorance, no one dies of AIDS in two or three weeks anymore. Thank God.”
View this post on Instagram
The star also hit out at his “sexist remarks” about women whose “pussies need to smell like water,” saying he encouraged “more discrimination against women who fight daily against the oppression of living under the constraints of the Male Gaze.”
Madonna ended her post: “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.”
Miley Cyrus also reached out to DaBaby and offered to educate him, while Sir Elton John took to Twitter to release actual facts about HIV/AIDS including how “you can live a long and healthy life with HIV” and now, with treatment, “HIV can become undetectable in your body so you can’t pass it onto other people.”
View this post on Instagram
“Homophobic and HIV mistruths have no place in our society and industry and as musicians, we must spread compassion and love for the most marginalised people in our communities,” said Elton. “A musician’s job is to bring people together.”
(1/5) We've been shocked to read about the HIV misinformation and homophobic statements made at a recent DaBaby show. This fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic.
The facts are: pic.twitter.com/MqCv3vWiz2
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) July 28, 2021
In an interview with PEOPLE, Megan Thee Stallion said “it is about time” that the hip-hop community confronts its notoriously homophobic culture, adding: “Representation is important, and it is really crucial for us all to have compassion and acceptance of every human.”
On a more surprising note, Chris Brown even appeared to address the controversy as he wrote on his Instagram Story: “Shut the f**k up. Do yo shows. Thank everybody. Then get the f**k off stage.”
What’s next for DaBaby?
He’s rich, so he’ll be fine. Also, there’s probably millions of people out there who agree with his archaic views about homosexuality and HIV positive people, such as former popular rapper T.I., so his streams will likely be unaffected.
Although we don’t expect DaBaby to be cancelled for very long, the consequences of his actions will likely have an impact on other non-LGBTQ+ friendly artists moving forward and their behaviour towards the community – whether that’s through their lyrics or on stage. Silver lining?