Rapper Dababy recently met with leaders from nine U.S. HIV organizations for a virtual conversation after comments the artist made about those with HIV at a music festival in July.
During the rapper’s set at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami DaBaby asked fans to shine their cellphone flashlights if they “didn’t show up today with HIV/AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that will make you die in two to three weeks.”
As a result, the artist was dropped from numerous popular festivals, like Lollapalooza, the Governor’s Ball, and iHeart Radio. Following a multiple statements posted to his social media, DaBaby’s final apology acknowledges the “hurtful and triggering comments” he had made.
“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. 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.”
Then he apologized specifically to the LGBTQ+ community “for the hurtful and triggering comments I made. Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important.”
Not only did Dababy’s words receive criticism from fellow artists but also from organizations working to end the stigmas surrounding HIV. Soon after the comments went viral, 11 organizations called for a meeting with him, after he shared his most recent apology to his Instagram.
In a statement, the organizations said that their open letter to the rapper, “was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for.” As of Aug. 26, 125 organizations signed on to support the open letter to DaBaby.
NEW from @glaad, PAC, and 9 other organizations:— Prevention Access (@PreventionAC) August 4, 2021
An open letter to DaBaby requesting a private meeting to discuss the facts about HIV and to discuss a long-term opportunity for him to share the education to his fanbase. #UequalsU https://t.co/frZURfN3iq
“Our goal was to ‘call him in instead of calling him out. 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 said.
The meeting took place on Wednesday, Aug. 25, and included representatives from Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers, GLAAD, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign (U=U), the Southern AIDS Coalition, and Transinclusive Group, as well as a faith and HIV advisor, who talked about HIV history and education.