The controversy began when DaBaby made remarks about HIV and AIDS during his Rolling Loud set on day three of the music festival. "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," he told the crowd during his performance, which was livestreamed. "Ladies, if your p---y smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d--- in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up."
His comments quickly received backlash from viewers on social media, with fans of Dua Lipa urging the singer to remove DaBaby from her "Levitating" remix. The "We're Good" singer condemned her collaborator's comments, saying she was "surprised and horrified" by his comments. "I really don't recognize this as the person I worked with," she said in her statement.
DaBaby did receive vocal support from T.I., who defended the rapper. The Ant-Man actor and musician said in a video posted to Instagram that DaBaby had a right to share his opinion, and compared the rant to Lil Nas X's "Industry Baby" video. "If you gonna have the Lil Nas X video and him living his truth, you gonna damn sure have people like DaBaby who gonna speak their truth," T.I. said. "Ain't nothing wrong with none of it, it ain't got to be no hate — it's all honesty. Everybody living in their truth."
The criticism on social media also led DaBaby to speak out in his own defense. Rather than apologizing, DaBaby said in his Instagram Stories on July 26 that his comments were a "call to action," telling people who viewed the livestream and clips of his rant to "shut the f--- up." He added that his shows are to be enjoyed live in person, and will "never translate correctly" to those watching from home. He then doubled down, saying, "My gay fans, they take care of themselves. They ain't no nasty gay n----s. See what I'm saying? They ain't no junkies in the street. ... They got class. They ain't sucking no d--- in no parking lot."
A day after defending his initial rant, DaBaby issued an apology. In a series of tweets July 27, he wrote, "Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV y'all got the right to be upset, what I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies."
However, he still placed some blame on his critics. "I tell fans to put a cellphone light in the air y'all start a million man March," he said in one of his tweets.
Billboard has reached out to DaBaby's team for comment regarding boohooMAN's decision to cut ties with the rapper.
See boohooMAN's statement below: