Following the harmful and controversial comments he made about HIV and AIDS at his recent performance at Miami's Rolling Loud music festival in late July, the 29-year-old rapper has lost out on many paid opportunities and performances, taking to social media to offer an apology. But many, especially in the community, don't see it as enough.
With that in mind, eleven HIV organizations, including Arianna's Center, the Black AIDS Institute, GLAAD, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Prevention Access Campaign, Relationship Unleashed, and leaders from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative including Southern AIDS Coalition, Emory University, the University of Houston, and Wake Forest University have signed and released an open letter to the rapper asking him to meet with them so he can learn more about the disease and help amplify correct information about living with it.
\u201cNEW from @glaad, PAC, and 9 other organizations: \n\nAn open letter to DaBaby requesting a private meeting to discuss the facts about HIV and to discuss a long-term opportunity for him to share the education to his fanbase. #UequalsU \n\nhttps://t.co/frZURfN3iq\u201d
"We heard your inaccurate and harmful comments at Rolling Loud and have read your Instagram apology. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical," the letter reads. "We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities."
The orgs also offer specific steps he can take to start making up for the comments. "We believe that you now have an opportunity to not just move past this unfortunate incident, but to use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm," it reads.
"We believe that anyone can be an HIV advocate by amplifying: how there is medication (PrEP) that can prevent people from getting HIV with one pill a day, how routine treatment stops the virus from being passed on by people living with the HIV, how people receiving HIV care can survive and thrive while living with it, and how open and empathetic conversations eliminate stigma."
"You can be a powerful and influential voice, especially across your home base in the South, where the Black community's needs are notoriously under-represented across every public spectrum," the letter continues. "We encourage you to share this information with your fans and followers, and become an agent of truth and change."
Raniyah Copeland, the president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute said that DaBaby's comments specifically hit the Black community harder than others.
"DaBaby's words reflect the mindset of many Black folks," she said. "Whether it's stigmatizing people who are gay, trans, and/or living with HIV, or it's a deeply-rooted misogynoir, we can end HIV within our lifetime only if we work past ignorance that holds up systems of anti-Blackness that hurt and divide us."
"It's why critical conversations about shaming and oppressing our own people must be had in the whole of Black communities," she continued. "Having Black-led HIV organizations, particularly from the south, join this effort underscores the need for widespread Black leadership in brokering conversations that turn the misinformed into messengers of truth. We must ensure we ourselves are creating a world where all Black lives are afforded the humanity we deserve."