DaBaby ‘Eagerly Participated’ In Educational Meeting With GLAAD and HIV Activists

SciencesCOMPASS Initiative Coordinating

HIV and AIDS.

The meeting was called after GLAAD and 10 other

organizations penned an open letter to the rapper on

Aug. 4, in which they asked DaBaby to start a dialogue

with these organizations in order to “address the

miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments,

and the impact it has on various communities.”

 

According to a joint statement from the meeting

attendees, DaBaby was “genuinely engaged” on the

subject matter, and he “apologized for the inaccurate and

hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV,

and received our personal stories and the truth about

HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities

with deep respect.” The attendees went on to say that they

were happy to see that the rapper “openly and eagerly

participated in this forum of Black people living with

HIV, which provided him an opportunity to learn and to

receive accurate information.”

 

During his set at Rolling Loud Miami on July 25, the

rapper spouted off a homophobic rant in which he made

ignorant and misinformed statements about HIV and

AIDS. “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 your cellphone

lighter up,” he said. “Ladies, if your p—- smell like water,

put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking

d— in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

 

Throughout the conversation, leaders from each of these

organizations educated DaBaby on the reality of living

with HIV. The groups offered information, saying that

both prevention of and treatment for HIV are highly

effective, that those living with undetectable viral loads

can live full lives without transmitting HIV to others, and

that Black Americans are more vulnerable to the disease

in the U.S. thanks to “structural barriers, steeped in

racist and anti-Black policies and practices, to resources

like healthcare, education, employment and housing.”

 

The attendees also highlighted the fact that the

continuing stigma surrounding HIV — especially when

reinforced by artists like DaBaby — only makes the

spread of HIV worse. “Shaming people living with HIV or

for being on medication to prevent HIV stops people from

seeking the care they need and lets undiagnosed people

pass on the virus,” they noted in their joint statement.

 

Marina Miller, who works as a community outreach

coordinator with the Southern AIDS Coalition, said in a

statement that she was pleased to see DaBaby taking an

active role in his own education throughout the meeting.

“DaBaby’s willingness to listen, learn, and grow can open

the door to an entirely new generation of people to do the

same,” she said. “Ending HIV stigma requires doing the

hard work of changing hearts and minds, and often that

begins with something as simple as starting a dialogue.

We hope DaBaby will use his platform to educate his fans

and help end the epidemic.”

 

According a GLAAD’s latest study on HIV/AIDS education

and awareness in America, DaBaby is far from the only

one lacking proper information on the subject. Only 48

percent of Americans surveyed said they felt

“knowledgeable about HIV,” while only 42 percent said

that they knew “people living with HIV cannot transmit

the virus while on proper treatment.”

 

“For the second year in a row, we are finding that HIV

stigma remains high while HIV knowledge remains low

amongst Americans,” DaShawn Usher, GLAAD’s

associate director for communities of color, said in a

statement. “We have to think critically and intentionally

about how we truly equip and engage everyday Americans

with the facts, resources, and scientific advancements

about HIV if we want to end the epidemic.”

 

Most recently, DaBaby appeared alongside Marilyn

Manson on Kanye West’s new album, Donda, which

arrived Aug. 29In his verse on “Jail, Pt. 2,” DaBaby

rapped about his controversy, saying, “I said one thing

they ain’t like, threw me out like they ain’t care for me/

Threw me out like I’m garbage, huh? … But I ain’t really

mad, ’cause when I look at it/ I’m getting them snakes up

out my grass.” DaBaby is committed to furthering his

career and has learned a valuable lesson that we are glad

he is rebounding from. We salute DaBaby on his efforts to

further educate himself.

 

Source: Tyshawn Smith

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