DaBaby’s HIV and gay comments ‘perpetuate discrimination’

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Rapper DaBaby has been criticised for comments he made at a US festival about people with HIV and gay men.

Performing at Rolling Loud festival in Miami, he invited every audience member to "put your cell phone light up" apart from those who were HIV-positive or were gay men who had sex in car parks.

He also claimed HIV will "make you die in two or three weeks".

Medication helping those with HIV to live long, healthy lives has been available for decades.

DaBaby's comments were supported by rapper TI, who said if Lil Nas X – who regularly asserts his sexuality onstage – was able to say and do as he liked, then DaBaby should be able to do the same.

But DaBaby's faced criticism from many others, including the UK's leading HIV and Aids charity.

'Spreading misinformation'

"It's wrong for people living with HIV to be made to feel lesser or excluded because of their diagnosis – it should be unacceptable in the music industry and in society at large," says Richard Angell, campaigns director at the Terence Higgins Trust (THT).

"Comments like DaBaby's perpetuate HIV-related stigma and discrimination, as well as spreading misinformation about HIV.

"You can now live a long, healthy life with HIV thanks to medical progress when you're diagnosed and accessing treatment."

Medication to manage HIV and stop it spreading has been available since 1996.

The introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep), which can be taken by people who do not have HIV to prevent catching it, has helped to reduce infection numbers.

People who have HIV and are on treatment can be undetectable – meaning their blood carries such low amounts of the virus that they are unable to pass it on to others.

  • Preventative HIV drug to be available in England
  • TI says hymen check comments 'a false narrative'
  • Pose star Billy Porter reveals he has HIV

DaBaby's comments have been widely criticised on social media – including by BBC Radio 1 Xtra presenter, Yasmin Evans.

Me skipping past DaBaby's tunes for the rest of eternity pic.twitter.com/sJJ4MhrHqG

— Yasmin Evans (@YasminEvans) July 26, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

@DaBabyDaBaby What was the Reason???? Do you kno how many Gays truly BUY and stream your Music &do you the amount of people who are living with HIV/AIDS that you attacked for nothing ?

Then The Gays break they necks to be at events like that to be completely disrespected‼️

— The Real Ts Madison (@TsMadisonatl1) July 26, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Dababy is a weirdo, why you THAT concerned with gay people's sex lives? I assure you it never once crossed my mind to start talking about straight men's sexual health while on stage…

— Shamir (@ShamirBailey) July 26, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Following the backlash, DaBaby spoke on his Instagram story, saying what he does at his shows "does not concern" people online.

"What I do at the live show is for the audience at the live show. It'll never translate to somebody looking at at a five, six-second clip," he said.

'Even my gay fans got standards'

He then accused people on the internet of "twisting" his words and claims he is appreciated by straight and gay fans.

He went on to claim his gay fans do not have Aids, and called people with the illness "nasty" and "junkies on the street".

"Even my gay fans got standards," he added.

DaBaby is currently in the US Top Ten as a guest artist on Dua Lipa's hit Levitating and has a clothing collaboration with Boohoo.

Newsbeat has contacted both for comment on their future relationship with the rapper, but neither has responded.

What is HIV?

  • HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus – the immunodeficiency is the weakening of the immune system by the virus
  • If untreated it can lead to late-stage HIV or Aids, the name for a collection of illnesses caused by the virus
  • But there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live long and healthy lives
  • Modern medication reduces the viral load to undetectable levels, meaning someone can't pass on HIV and their health is protected
  • There were more than 105,000 people living with HIV in the UK in 2019
  • Sources: Terrence Higgins Trust and NHS

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