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GLAAD, more LGBTQ, HIV organizations write open letter to DaBaby; rapper's apology deleted from social media

·6 min read

Eleven LGBTQ and HIV-focused organizations, including GLAAD and the Black AIDS Institute, are calling on DaBaby to discuss facts about HIV after his homophobic remarks made at Rolling Loud last month.

In an Aug. 2 post on his Twitter and Instagram pages, the rapper apologized for his "hurtful and triggering" words after he was dropped from the Governors Ball music festival and Lollapalooza. (As of Aug. 8, the post was deleted from social media).

The organizations on Wednesday sent an open letter to DaBaby, inviting him to meet with HIV organizations to learn more about the virus as well as provide facts on what HIV is and what it is not.

"At a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical," the letter reads. "We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities."

In the letter obtained by USA TODAY, the organizations wrote that the "Rockstar" rapper could be a "powerful and influential" voice if he shared accurate information about HIV with his fanbase.

DaBaby performs during Rolling Loud at Hard Rock Stadium on July 25, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.
DaBaby performs during Rolling Loud at Hard Rock Stadium on July 25, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

DaBaby issues an apology for his 'misinformed comments,' deletes it days after

In his now-deleted extended apology, DaBaby acknowledged that he needed "guidance" on the topic and thanked those who privately offered "wisdom, education and resources."

"I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community," he wrote in a statement posted to Instagram Monday. "Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education in this is important."

USA TODAY has reached out to DaBaby's representatives about the deleted post.

The six-time Grammy-nominated artist, 29, came under fire for derogatory remarks referencing HIV/AIDS made during his set in Miami. Days later, he embroiled himself in more controversy with similar sentiments after releasing his NSFW song and music video "Giving What It's Supposed to Give."

In one part of the music video, DaBaby holds up a sign that reads "AIDS" as he raps, "We like AIDS, I'm on your (expletive), we won't go away." At the end of the video, a final screen reads in rainbow-colored letters: "Don't fight hate with hate. My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you."

The rapper also sent a pointed message at those who didn't help him.

"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 wrote. "As a man who has had to make his own way from very difficult circumstances, having people I know publicly working against me … has been challenging."

ACL Fest, Lollapalooza, more drop DaBaby from lineup

Austin City Limits Music Festival is the latest large music event to drop DaBaby following the controversy. A post to the fest's Twitter account on Tuesday morning announced that the rapper will no longer be performing at the festival and promised a lineup update coming soon.

DaBaby was supposed to headline both Sundays of the festival, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 1-3 and 8-10.

The move comes one day after Governors Ball, a music festival scheduled for Sept. 24-26 in New York City, also removed DaBaby from its lineup Monday, denouncing "hate or discrimination of any kind" in a statement on behalf of its organizer, Founders Entertainment.

"We welcome and celebrate the diverse communities that make New York City the greatest city in the world," the statement read. "Thank you to the fans who continue to speak up for what is right. Along with you, we will continue to use our platform for good."

DaBaby was originally scheduled to perform on the first day of the festival. The Governors Ball's social media pages told attendees to "stay tuned for a lineup addition."

USA TODAY has reached out DaBaby's representatives for further comment.

On Sunday morning, the official accounts for Lollapalooza posted: "Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight."

DaBaby, Big Wild and Foo Fighters had been scheduled to perform the final sets of Lollapalooza this weekend.

The rapper's 9 p.m. time slot on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage will be filled by Young Thug, who was initially slated to perform at 4 p.m. on the T-Mobile Stage. "PTSD" rapper G Herbo, who made a guest appearance during Miley Cyrus' set Thursday, filled in for Young Thug.

Who is DaBaby? Meet the chart-topping rapper behind 'Rockstar'

Dua Lipa, Elton John, more react to DaBaby's initial remarks

Among other derogatory remarks made during his set at Rolling Loud in Miami, according to video shared by TMZ, DaBaby told the audience to raise their cellphone flashlights in the air “if you didn’t show up today with HIV/AIDS or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that will make you die in two to three weeks.”

'Know your facts': Madonna, Questlove, more stars condemn DaBaby's homophobic comments

His comments, and subsequent apology, have been met with backlash from fellow musicians, including Madonna, Questlove, Elton John and Dua Lipa. Clothing company BoohooMan has also cut ties with the rapper.

DaBaby tried to walk back his remarks last week on Instagram Live, according to a screen recording posted on TMZ, saying his comments were a “call to action” instead of a rant, though he went on to make additional derogatory remarks about the LGBTQ community.

He has since apologized, saying he has nothing against the LGBTQ community.

“Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset,” DaBaby tweeted. “What I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody.”

Contributing: Bryan Alexander, Cydney Henderson, Edward Segarra, Amy Haneline, Elise Brisco, USA TODAY; Deborah Sengupta Stith, Austin American-Statesman

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DaBaby deletes Instagram apology for homophobic comments

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