With rapper DaBaby contnuing to receive backlash for comments he made considered to be offensive to members of the LGBTQ community, several national organizations representing the LGBTQ community and/or possessing an HIV-focus have released a joint open letter to DaBaby offering to educate him on the impact of his recent homophobic remarks.
Eleven organizations, including GLAAD and the Black AIDS Institute, sent a letter requesting a private meeting with the entertainer about his “uninformed views regarding HIV.” According to those groups, it is not their intention to “cancel” the rapper but rather use this latest incident as a “teachable moment.”
Here’s an excerpt from the letter: “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. We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.”
The joint letter continued: “2021 marks the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the greatest obstacles in our work to end HIV are the compounded stigmas attached to anti-Blackness, living with HIV, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ attitudes and stereotypes, all of which are fueled by misinformation.”
“It’s fear and stigma that keep people, particularly Black Americans, from accessing HIV prevention or care that White Americans have historically and continue to access more easily. 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.”
In the letter, the groups offered a path for DaBaby and others to learn more about the LGBTQ community and about HIV/AIDS and its disproportionate impact upon communities of color.
“Music artists have historically led the way to lift up understanding of HIV and accelerated LGBTQ acceptance. Several artists and platforms have spoken up against you,” they noted. “While we appreciate their stand, we also invite them to take action and to do their part to end HIV by supporting organizations like ours serving people who are Black, LGBTQ and/or living with HIV.”
“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 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. We encourage you to share this information with your fans and followers, and become an agent of truth and change.”
“As leaders of organizations directly serving Black, LGBTQ, and HIV+ communities, we invite you to a private, off-the-record, virtual discussion with us,” the message concluded. “You stated you now understand how and why your comments were damaging. An open conversation holds the potential for you to now create meaningful impact by transforming from an adversary to an advocate.”