DaBaby is flying high. The Charlotte-based rapper is in the midst of a multi-city concert tour and was recently defended by Dave Chappelle in his controversial Netflix special The Closer. Back on July 25, however, the hip-hop artist received heavy criticism following an unprompted homophobic rant at Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival.
“If you didn’t show up today with HIV/AIDS, or any of them deadly STDs that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up,” the 29-year-old instructed the crowd. “Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.” (To make matters worse, DaBaby was flanked by Tory Lanez, a blatant middle finger to Megan Thee Stallion, who’d just performed on the same stage and had a restraining order against Lanez over the time he allegedly shot her in the foot.)
Following a wave of backlash, DaBaby embarked on a halfhearted apology tour (his social media mea culpas have since been deleted) and met with a handful of HIV/AIDS awareness organizations back in August in the name of educating himself and repairing his image. But several of those organizations told The Daily Beast that DaBaby never made a financial contribution to them. Additionally, DaBaby failed to partner with any of the groups that he’d met with for World AIDS Day (Wednesday, Dec. 1), and many of the organizations say they never heard from DaBaby again.
Pavni Guharoy, a communications consultant for the Black AIDS Institute, told The Daily Beast that while they found the closed-door conversation with DaBaby in late August to be “productive” and he “received that learning gracefully,” nothing else came of the meeting.
“Since then, we have not received any outreach, partnership, or funding from DaBaby,” she said in an email. “The onus is now on him, if he chooses to, to convert his misinformation into allyship by supporting the work of the Black AIDS Institute and other people of color-led HIV organizations.”
As DaBaby’s Rolling Loud performance began circulating on social media and an ensuing media storm grew, DaBaby dug the hole deeper, doubling down on his derogatory comments, which he described as a “call to action.”
“My gay fans, they take care of themselves,” he said in an Instagram story. “They ain’t no nasty gay n****s. See what I’m saying? They ain’t no junkies in the street. The hell you talking about, n***a? Then I said if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up. You know what my gay fans did? Put that motherfucking light up, n***a, ‘cause my gay fans ain’t going for that. They got class. They ain’t sucking no dick in no parking lot.”
DaBaby’s refusal to muster up an apology led to him being dropped from a host of summer music festivals, including Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. In fact, the Chicago music festival had even given the rapper a window of time to make a public apology if he wished to remain on the lineup, but when he failed to do so he was cut from the fest.
As the backlash grew among his industry peers, including Dua Lipa, Madonna, Questlove, and Elton John, and the financial repercussions mounted, like being dropped from his clothing collaboration with BoohooMAN, DaBaby issued a formal apology on Aug. 2, acknowledging his “hurtful and triggering” remarks.
But days after nearly a dozen HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ groups signed an open letter asking DaBaby to meet with them, he deleted the post from social media.
On Aug. 31, nine organizations, including GLAAD and the Black AIDS Institute, released a joint statement that they had met with DaBaby to educate him and share their personal stories. In return, DaBaby “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.”
By November, it seemed all was forgiven as DaBaby announced that he was working with Rolling Loud again, going on a multi-city tour called Live Show Killa. “Rolling Loud supports second chances and we believe DaBaby has grown and learned from his experience,” the company said in a statement about the tour.
But three of the organizations that DaBaby sat down with told The Daily Beast that they have not heard from the rapper since, nor did he ever make any financial contributions to their respective groups.
The six other organizations, including GLAAD, Gilead COMPASS, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), Prevention Access Campaign, the Southern AIDS Coalition, and Transinclusive Group did not return The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. (Nor did DaBaby respond.)
Positive Women’s Network’s co-executive director Venita Ray also confirmed they had not been in contact with the rapper, and he never donated to the group, but added the door was always open to speak with DaBaby or partner with him.
“Though we felt the conversation was extremely powerful a couple months ago, we haven’t heard anything back as an organization since our conversation,” added Ian L. Haddock, founder and executive director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative.
He stated that DaBaby had not made any financial contribution, while pointing out that Lil Nas X helped raised thousands of dollars in his Industry Baby campaign that listed The Normal Anomaly Initiative and other HIV or LGBTQ organizations in his “baby registry.”