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Celebrities, activists condemn rapper DaBaby’s homophobic comments

“This fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic," Elton John tweeted.
Image:  DaBaby performs during Rolling Loud in Miami Gardens on July 25, 2021.
DaBaby performs during Rolling Loud in Miami Gardens on July 25, 2021.Rich Fury / Getty Images

Rapper DaBaby is facing widespread criticism from celebrities and activists for comments he made about people living with HIV/AIDS.

DaBaby, known for his hit song "Rockstar" and for being featured in Dua Lipa's "Levitating," asked fans Sunday night at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami 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," along with further crude comments about gay men and women, according to a now-viral video.

The rapper addressed his remarks Monday on Instagram Live, claiming gay and straight fans alike enjoyed his live show. Then, on Twitter, he said people living with AIDS and HIV have "the right to be upset" and that he had "no intentions on offending anybody."

A representative for DaBaby has not returned a request for additional comment.

Celebrities — particularly those from the music industry — and activists were quick to criticize his remarks.

Dua Lipa addressed the remarks in an Instagram story, telling her fans that she was "horrified" by DaBaby's comments and that she doesn't recognize the person she worked with.

"I know my fans know where my heart lies and that I stand 100% with the LGTBQ community,” she wrote. “We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS.”

Music icon Elton John, who is openly gay and a longtime HIV advocate, wrote in a now-viral tweet how "shocked" he was to hear about the rapper's remarks.

"This fuels stigma and discrimination and is the opposite of what our world needs to fight the AIDS epidemic," he said.

The singer shared in an infographic from the Elton John AIDS Foundation — which raises money and awareness for the fight against HIV/AIDS — that it is musicians' "job to bring people together."

Pop star Demi Lovato, who recently came out as nonbinary and uses gender neutral pronouns, shared an Instagram gallery post from the makeup artist and queer activist Matt Bernstein that explains the danger behind DaBaby's comments. They captioned the post “hot people listen to the original version of levitating," referring to the version of the song that doesn't feature DaBaby.

"Moment" singer Victoria Monét offered to replace DaBaby's verse in Dua Lipa's song.

Candiace Dillard Bassett, who is featured in “The Real Housewives of Potomac,” also said she was bothered by the comments.

"To refer to HIV and AIDS as a ‘deadly disease’ that kills people in ‘2-3 weeks’ is disgusting and dangerous at best. Like. Why would you say that?” she tweeted.

On Wednesday, boohooMAN, an online fashion retailer based in the United Kingdom, condemned "the use of homophobic language" and said that it would no longer be working with the rapper.

At least one celebrity has come to DaBaby’s defense: fellow rapper T.I. The performer commented on an Instagram post of the viral video and said, “If Lil Nas X can kick his s--- in peace... so should dababy #equality.”

Following backlash, he later said in an Instagram Live on Monday he respects gay people and compared DaBaby's rant to Lil Nas X’s new “Industry Baby” video, in which the rapper proudly declares “I’m queer.”

“If you gonna have the Lil Nas X video and him living his truth, you gonna damn sure have people like DaBaby who gonna speak their truth,” he said on Instagram Live. “Ain’t nothing wrong with none of it, it ain’t got to be no hate — it’s all honesty. Everybody living in their truth.”

A representative for T.I. has not returned a request for comment.

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