As you’ve probably heard by now, hip-hop artist DaBaby received major backlash back in July of this year after making offensive and inflammatory remarks about women, LGBTQ+ people, and people living with HIV.
The comments were made while the 29-year-old rapper performed onstage at the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami. In addition to a sexist and homophobic tirade, DaBaby told the audience, “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.”
Not only were the comments extremely offensive to people living with HIV or other STIs, but they were decades behind in terms of modern science. HIV has not been a “deadly” disease since antiretroviral meds were developed in the mid-90s. In addition, HIV cannot be passed to a sexual partner if one is taking their meds and their viral load is undetectable (U=U). Everything DaBaby said contradicts these proven scientific facts, further fueling stigma and ignorance around HIV.
Since then, the rapper has received much public criticism for the disparaging remarks. In attempts to salvage the damage done to his career, he issued an apology of questionably sincerity shortly after — which he later rescinded, calling his critics “cry babies.” He also met with some leaders in the HIV community and vowed to donate to their organizations, which has yet to happen.
And now just recently — and ironically at the same music festival, Rolling Loud, this time in San Bernardino, Calif. — he attempted a “comeback’ performance, as reported by Radar. Upon announcing his appearance last month, the festival’s organizers stated they believed DaBaby had “grown" since his past mistakes and therfore invited him back to perform.
However, many audience members made it clear they are not OK with DaBaby’s past behavior or his half-hearted apology — and showed their dismay by booing the rapper and pelting him with water bottles and other objects when he took to the stage.
While clearly this type of reaction is not the best way to protest DaBaby’s behavior, as people could get hurt (and it’s technically assault), it is clear that many people do not share his ignorant and outdated views — which is ultimately a good sign that stigma around HIV may be decreasing overall.