A rapper has been criticised by music stars and dropped from many music festival line-ups after comments he made about HIV and homosexuality came to light.
DaBaby – real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk – made the remarks at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami.
The rapper, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1991, reached number one in the UK charts last year with his song, ‘Rockstar’.
But what exactly did he say? And how has Miley Cyrus offered to help him out?
Here is everything you need to know about the situation.
What did DaBaby say?
DaBaby reportedly told an audience at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami to hold their phones in the air unless they had HIV or were gay men who had sex in car parks.
He also reportedly told the crowd the incorrect claim that HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases kill within weeks.
"[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 a cellphone light in the air,” he is reported to have said.
"Ladies, if your p**** smell like water, put a cellphone light in the air,” he continued. “Fellas, if you ain't sucking d*** in the parking lot, put a cellphone light in the air."
The rapper responded to the reports by saying: "What me and my fans do at the live show, it don't concern you n***** on the internet, or you bitter bitches on the internet.”
He then went on to claim that gay fans of his do not have HIV/AIDS because they are not "nasty gay n***** or junkies."
Since then, DaBaby has been dropped from the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago – the Austin City Limits Festival also announced DaBaby would no longer be performing at the event.
Other events to drop DaBaby from their bills include Parklife in Manchester, and the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
How has the music world reacted?
DaBaby's comments have been denounced by major artists including Madonna and Sir Elton John.
Sir Elton – who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation charity in 1992 – criticised the rapper for fuelling “stigma and discrimination” with his comments about homosexuality and HIV.
He wrote on Instagram: “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.”
He added: “HIV misinformation and homophobia have no place in the music industry. We must break down the stigma around HIV and not spread it. As musicians, it’s our job to bring people together.”
Singer Dua Lipa, who has previously collaborated with DaBaby on the popular remix of her song ‘Levitating’, also criticised his comments.
She wrote on Instagram: “I’m surprised and horrified at DaBaby’s comments. I really don’t recognise this as the person I worked with. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS.”
How has Miley Cyrus got involved?
Miley Cyrus has reached out to DaBaby in the hope they can “learn from each other” amid the backlash against the rapper over the crude remarks he made.
Cyrus wrote in a post on Instagram: “@DaBaby check your DMS – would love to talk and see how we can learn from each other and help be part of making a more just and understanding future!”
The pop star also tagged resources to provide more information on the topic, including the non-profit Greater Than Aids and the Happy Hippie Foundation, founded by Cyrus in 2014, which focuses on homelessness and LGBTQ rights.
The US singer, 28, also posted a statement to Instagram saying: “As a proud and loyal member of the LGBTQIA+ community, much of my life has been dedicated to encouraging love, acceptance, and open mindedness.
“The internet can fuel a lot of hate and anger and is the nucleus of cancel culture… but I believe it can also be a place filled with education, conversation, communication and connection.
“It’s easier to cancel someone than to find forgiveness and compassion in ourselves or take the time to change hearts and minds. There’s no more room for diversion if we want to keep seeing progress! Knowledge is power! I know I still have so much to learn!”
Has he apologised?
DaBaby has since apologised for the remarks he made, saying he was misinformed and needed education on these topics.
Following his performance at the festival, DaBaby tweeted: “Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody.
“So my apologies. But the LGBT community… I ain’t trippin on y’all, do you. y’all business is y’all business.”
On 2 August, DaBaby apologised for his comments for the second time.
He wrote on Instagram: “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.”
He added he apologises “to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made”.
It’s not the first time DaBaby has been the centre of controversy.
In 2020, he slapped a female fan on his way to the stage for a performance. The crowd responded by booing, and he left the venue without performing any songs, later saying that he struck her because she placed her phone too close to his face with the flash on.
The rapper apologised on Instagram, but said: "I think by this time, you know it's a well known fact that male or female, I would've responded the same exact way."
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