DaBaby has met with a group of nine U.S. HIV organizations “to discuss HIV facts and share personal stories of living and thriving with HIV,” the organizations announced via a press release on Tuesday.
The organizations had called for the meeting in an Aug. 4 open letter to the rapper, whose controversial homophobic comments in recent weeks led to the cancellation of multiple concert appearances and a firestorm of criticism from other artists. His attempts at public apologies seemed half-hearted at best; he deleted the most detailed one from his social media accounts after a few days.
But in a statement on Tuesday, the organizations wrote: “The open letter to DaBaby was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for. 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.
“During our meeting, DaBaby was genuinely engaged, 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,” it continues. “We appreciate that he 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.”
Marnina Miller of the Southern AIDS Coalition, who participated in the meeting, said in a statement: “DaBaby’s willingness to listen, learn, and grow can open the door to an entirely new generation of people to do the same.”
The meeting 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 of August 26th, 125 organizations had signed on to support the open letter to DaBaby, including the Gilead COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers at Emory University, the University of Houston, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Wake Forest University along with at least 44 COMPASS partners including Arkansas Black Gay Men Forum, Partnership To End AIDS Status Inc. (PEAS), My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., Relationships Unleashed, and Advocacy House Services.
While DaBaby’s performances at multiple festivals, including a headlining spot at Lollapalooza, were canceled, he did perform at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in New Jersey and also appeared last week in Chicago at Kanye West’s third “Donda” listening event (along with accused sex offender Marilyn Manson), which was doubly surprising since West had removed a remix of one of his songs featuring DaBaby from streaming services. DaBaby addressed his situation onstage at Summer Jam and in his verse on West’s song “Jail.”