DaBaby has met with nine HIV organisations to discuss HIV education following his inaccurate comments made at a festival in July.
During his set at Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium on 25 July, DaBaby claimed that HIV-positive people will “die in two to three weeks” before making derogatory comments about his gay fans “sucking dick” in the parking lot.
The comments resulted in widespread criticism and saw the rapper dropped from several festival lineups, such as Lollapalooza, iHeartRadio, Parklife and the Governors Ball.
The rapper also lost sponsorship deals and had his feature removed from Dua Lipa’s top ten US hit Levitating after she said she was “surprised and horrified” by what he had said.
DaBaby has since engaged in an array of confusing behaviour, including a social media apology which was eventually deleted and by using his first stage performance since the incident to call out “cry babies” still talking about his offensive comments.
He has now met with representatives from nine HIV organisations in a virtual meeting, during which GLAAD said he “apologised for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV”.
“Our goal was to ‘call him in instead of calling him out’,” a joint statement from Black community leaders and those attending the meeting said.
“We believed that if he connected with Black leaders living with HIV that a space for community building and healing could be created.
“We are encouraged he swiftly answered our call and joined us in a meaningful dialogue and a thoughtful, educational meeting.”
The statement continued: “During our meeting, DaBaby was genuinely engaged, apologised for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect.”
“We must hold the media accountable to the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV who are not seen, represented, or discussed. Their stories matter and are beyond worthy of being told.” @dashawnusher https://t.co/SQ38Tjw4g1
— GLAAD (@glaad) August 31, 2021
GLAAD added that it is hopeful DaBaby will use his platform for good by encouraging fans to get tested for HIV and to know their status.
“At a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black communities, celebrities and influencers of all backgrounds have the power to defeat the stigma that fuels the epidemic,” a GLAAD statement said.
GLAAD’s 2021 State of HIV Stigma Study revealed that only 42% of Americans know that people living with HIV cannot transmit the virus while on proper treatment.
GLAAD Media Consultant and Researcher Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins studied the impact of media coverage on HIV stigma and found that celebrities and those with large platforms can influence the spread of misinformation about HIV.
DaBaby has previously come under fire from the likes of Elton John, Demi Lovato and Madonna for his ignorant outbursts about those living with the virus.
In a scathing letter to the rapper last month, Madonna wrote: “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 has not yet commented on his meeting with the HIV organisations publicly.
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