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DaBaby Acknowledged His Past Homophobic Remarks, But Offers No Real Apology For Them

DaBaby Acknowledged His Past Homophobic Remarks, But Offers No Real Apology For Them

DaBaby
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On his new podcast, Trevor Noah gave DaBaby a perfect chance to apologize, but the rapper still doesn’t seem sorry, or even fully aware, of his mistakes.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, DaBaby appeared in the latest episode of What Now? With Trevor Noah, a new Spotify original podcast from the former host of The Daily Show.

Noah, who’s always been an incredibly bright, empathetic, and precise interviewer, guided DaBaby to talk about his life story and his meteoric rise to success, which was stomped after the rapper made homophobic remarks during a performance at Rolling Loud Miami in 2021.

“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,” DaBaby told the audience at the time. “Ladies, if your p*ssy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d*ck in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

In the interview, a seemingly very relaxed DaBaby revealed that he had been nicknamed “the baby” for being the youngest of three boys in his family. He added, “I knew right from wrong, and it kind of tickles me sometimes with the way that I’m perceived by the public. Like, I was the good child in my house. I was an angel, you know what I’m saying?”

DaBaby then talked about his struggles growing up, not only in his community but within his own family. He and Noah – who was raised in South Africa under apartheid legislation – also bonded over the fact that they grew up always feeling a sense of “danger,” and feeling like they had to protect themselves and their loved ones at all times.

Nearly 40 minutes into their interview, Noah arrived at the point in DaBaby’s career where he made those homophobic remarks while performing at Rolling Loud in 2021.

“You said you move from one world to another, not realizing that you don’t understand the other world,” Noah recalled from an earlier story that DaBaby had shared. “And there’s a level of ignorance that you move into it with.”

Noah then listed all the accomplishments that DaBaby had been collecting at the time, like becoming a hip hop icon, starting trends on social media, doing Saturday Night Live, being on the cover of Rolling Stone, receiving several Grammy nominations, among others. “A lot of it comes to a halt when one day you’re on stage, and in the middle of a performance, you start saying things to the crowd about AIDS and gay people,” Noah explained. “Let’s start with the actual incident. You’re on stage. You go into this moment with the audience where you’re saying these things. What was your intention in that moment?”

DaBaby went on to list a series of casual, vague reasons for those actions. “Just to have everybody do exactly what they did, to put their cellphone lights up and create a transitional moment in my set,” he justified. But Noah kept pushing the rapper to acknowledge why he brought up those things, like AIDS, and men who might’ve been giving oral to other men in the parking lot, as his chosen prompts. “Not once did I even mention, you know, a gay person,” DaBaby insisted. “I didn’t even say anything about a gay person.”

The rapper continued, “The first backlash, I kind of took it as a joke. Like, this got to be a joke. Like, ‘Oh, this is just another attempt for the media to knock me off of this pedestal that they feel like I’m on.’ This felt miniscule to me. (…) I felt like, the second I say, ‘No, that’s not what I meant,’ that should’ve been understood and boom.”

Noah zoomed out to talk about the rampant homophobia that has permeated the hip hop genre over the years, and how DaBaby’s 2021 comments might’ve contributed to the general notion that mainstream rappers are tolerated and even embraced for spewing homophobic views.

“Help me understand,” Noah framed a new question. “Do you feel like you’re becoming more tolerant? Do you think you’ve been more defensive? I’d love to know how you’ve responded to the criticism, or how you felt like. What do you want to be more of now that you’re on the other side of that?”

DaBaby replied, “Over a year ago, I’m like, ‘I get it,’ you know what I’m saying? When I see how detrimental It was to my career and my journey and everything that I worked that hard for. When I see the amount of manpower being put behind shining a light on this narrative, I see like, ‘Wait, no, what I say is impactful.’”

At that point, Noah slightly interrupted DaBaby’s speech about how his career had suffered to ask if he also understood the impact that his words had on the LGBTQ+ community.

“Absolutely, I see it,” DaBaby responded. “I [was] ignorant to the fact at that time. I [was] ignorant to the fact, first of all, that I didn’t intend to offend anybody. And then, once I did, okay, I understand. I offended people. (…) And that’s the thing, I didn’t wake up and they’re like, ‘You’re a role model. You’re the face of hip hop.’ But you know, I wasn’t aware of how impactful my words can be.” DaBaby continued saying that earlier in that performance, he had brought up something about a shooting, which didn’t get the same attention as his remarks that were deemed homophobic.

If you have time to watch this full interview with DaBaby, it’s fascinating to see how intensely determined Noah was to get to the bottom of this story, to offer a path of redemption for the rapper. But time and time again, no matter how much time Noah spent exploring DaBaby’s life, how questions were phrased, and how Noah tried to re-center the conversation, DaBaby still didn’t seem to understand the full scope of his mistakes and the impact of his actions and words beyond how they affected his career.

It’s upsetting that DaBaby was still so unwilling or unable to hear what Noah was clearly trying to tell him in this interview. This was the perfect platform for him to offer a real apology, to acknowledge his mistakes, to reach across the aisle to LGBTQ+ people who do consume hip hop and did enjoy DaBaby’s work – even if they only liked his excellent verse in Dua Lipa’s “Levitating.”

The fact that Noah created such a safe space for vulnerability and redemption, and that he tried so many times to get DaBaby to just apologize and say that he understands the people that he hurt in the LGBTQ+ community, but we still didn’t get any of it besides a vague “I get it” and speeches about how much his career has been affected… It’s incredibly unfortunate, and kind of mind-blowing, let’s just say that.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains the queer pop culture multiverse. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.