According to a press release published on the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s official website, Black leaders from nine HIV organizations from across the nation gathered virtually for a private discussion with the “Suge” rapper to “discuss HIV facts and share personal stories of living and thriving with HIV.”
A request for dialogue was initially presented to the North Carolina star, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, in an open letter submitted on Aug. 4, following the rapper’s controversial and misinformed rant regarding the LGBTQ community and HIV during his performance at the Rolling Loud festival in July 2021.
Per the release, the organizations explained their goal to “call” the rapper instead of “calling him out.” It continued, “We believe 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.”
The representative highlighted the “Red Light Green Light” rapper’s behavior during the informative exchange, noting that he “was genuinely engaged.” He also “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 continued, “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.”
One of the many pieces of information shared with DaBaby included the fact that 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with HIV, roughly 13 percent of which don’t know they’ve contracted the disease. In addition, the one-third of Black Americans who know their diagnoses account for more HIV diagnoses, people living with HIV and the most deaths among people with HIV than any other population.
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.” This is a change for DaBaby, whose response to his scandal hadn’t been well-received. After posting a more detailed and lengthy apology to his Instagram, the rapper later removed it entirely, further infuriating his critics.
As a result of his comments, DaBaby endured harsh criticisms and suffered the wrath of “cancel culture.” Furthermore, he was removed from over five concert lineups, including iHeartRadio Music Festival and Parklife.
Groups that met with DaBaby include: Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative, Coordinating Centers, GLAAD, National Minority AIDS Council, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign or U=U, the Southern AIDS Coalition and Transinclusive Group.