The words DaBaby used were ignorant, violent, and uneducated.
Since the '80s, a negative stigma has clouded our friends with HIV/AIDS, stemming from a lack of education across the nation. Words like his only further the divisiveness, and lead to increased violence against our community and the HIV+ community. His words highlight how much farther we must go to educate our friends and family.
On issues like HIV/AIDS, his rhetoric keeps people afraid, ashamed, and prolongs this decades long epidemic. A recent study found 1.2M U.S. citizens have HIV, and 13% of people who are living with HIV don’t know it. People living with AIDS have a significantly higher risk of suicide.
DaBaby is wrong in assuming that HIV/AIDS is a queer disease, too. Another study notes that 23% of diagnoses were heterosexual last year.
The apology he issued only highlights how much further we need to go in educating our friends and family. He stated “they don’t got AIDS, my gay fans" because they’re not "nasty" or "junkies" and that it was a “call to action.” This is a call to action to discriminate and divide. I counter with a call to action to check out amfAR, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Trevor Project, or For the Gworls.
I’d also like to counter T.I.’s claim that “homosexuals have more rights than heterosexual people” - this spreads more lies. The facts are that in 69 countries it is illegal to be gay. Conversion therapy is still legal in 30 states. We are still fighting for equality while courts around the country try to fight against us.
This is a disease that has already wiped out an entire generation of artists, friends, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. We’ve lost, art, we’ve lost music, we’ve lost cinema, and we’ve lost our loved ones.
Yet, there’s such hope in our community. Science has made such tremendous strides that we can teach U=U (undetectable = untransmittable) - where the correct medication makes the amount of virus in someone’s body so low it’s undetectable, and people are able to live unaffected, healthy lives. New medicine (PreP) is 99.9% effective in preventing the spread of the disease.
In the past few days, I’ve witnessed record labels, brands, and talent agencies who amplify their queer employees during June remain silent on his comments.
We exist outside of June and are not only queer during Pride Month. We exist as men, women, trans men and trans women, and gender non-binary humans. We are here. And we are a million-man march. These attacks on our community happen year-round. Rather than cancel culture, I pray we can continue to have these open conversations, educate ourselves, and be united against the divisiveness DaBaby is spreading.
Sent with love,