How DaBaby's Comments Affect the U=U Movement
DaBaby’s recent comments at the Rolling Loud concert which reeked of homophobia, ignorance, and hatred has caused him to lose many brand deals like BooHoo, and concert gigs including Lollapalooza. During his performance, the rapper started “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 lighters up.”
Adding to this, DaBaby continued to offend by adding: “If you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.” He then brought out Tory Lanez, the man who shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot, up on stage to perform with him.
Sometime after the statements, and after Tory Lanez was introduced, a single Adidas shoe was tossed at DaBaby.
Since the live performance, the rapper issued a defense to his statements, followed by an apology to the LGBTQ community. Many celebrities chimed into the conversation. Dua Lipa stated her sadness and discomfort with DaBaby’s comments, while Miley Cyrus publicly opened an invitation to help educate DaBaby on why his remarks were wrong and hurtful.
Other rappers like T.I and 50 Cent have showed support for DaBaby. They don’t believe DaBaby should be cancelled, and will bounce back from the situation. Nick Cannon also chimed in, similarly to Miley Cyrus, asking fans not to cancel DaBaby, but to educate. Nick Cannon believes his comments didn't come from a place of hatred, but of "some institutionalization that is going on in us as men," as stated in his interview with The Breakfast Club.
While DaBaby’s blatant homophobia, misogyny and ignorance is clear, what he’s also doing is spreading false information about HIV/AIDS. Education on the topic is only sparce within the LGBTQ community, and beyond that, knowledge on the subject is extremely limited. Television series like Pose and RuPaul’s Drag Race that aim to educate on the history of the epidemic, and share stories on how people living with the virus. More modern shows and stories also tell how medicine and research on the virus has evolved.
The first cases of HIV/AIDS began in the 1980s, most reported among gay men in New York and California. It was often referred to as a “gay” disease until it was also reported through heroin and hemophiliacs users. The virus transmitted through blood-on-blood contact. Still, however, many people mainly focused on the LGBTQ community and used it as a way to extend their hatred and homophobia. “Gay people were spreading a disease worldwide.”
If having HIV/AIDS was a “death sentence,” then so was being gay. Because of little research on the virus, many homosexuals lost their lives and livelihoods during the epidemic. Seeing brothers, sisters, friends, and lovers all falling ill to the disease, many people lost hope while battling a wave of homophobia. Some people who were diagnosed with the virus, however, did not show any symptoms for a long time, or sometimes not at all. The mystery of HIV/AIDS puzzled the masses.
In recent years, however, medicine has evolved. While there is no complete cure for the disease, certain treatments can control it. This means that people with HIV can live normal and healthy lives as if they did not have the virus at all. Treatment can reduce level of HIV in a person’s body to such a small amount that they are unable to pass the virus on to anyone else. This movement is more known online as U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable). To ensure that the virus stays at bay, the person must adhere to their treatment.
Although still a very serious virus, the fact that medicine can keep it at such low levels and allow those carrying HIV/AIDS to still live their lives to the fullest is amazing. As of now, the best thing to do for those living with HIV/AIDS is to offer continued support, and help break the stigma around the virus. A stereotype and misconception that lives with most of the world, and false facts that are still being spread by celebrities like DaBaby.