Rapper DaBaby has met with some of the country’s top Black HIV advocates.
The artist is working to not only right his wrongs but also educate himself on the deadly virus that caused the last global pandemic and has ravished the world for over 40 years.
Instead of canceling the chart-topper, on August 4, the advocates wrote an open letter, offering to enlighten him on the misinformation that he was spreading.
The letter said, “At a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and q#### 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.”
DaBaby accepted the invitation. He met up with groups like Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers, GLAAD, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), The Normal Anomaly Initiative , Positive Women’s Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign (U=U), the Southern AIDS Coalition, and Transinclusive Group on Wednesday, August 25.
The speakers shared about AIDS/HIV through the use of statistics, studies, and personal stories. This mattered and a lot and changed everything between the rapper and those leaders in the LGBTQIA community. The next day they wrote another open letter showing their belief in his willingness to grow and his acknowledgment of his mistake.
Marnina Miller from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative said, “DaBaby’s willingness to listen, learn, and grow can open the door to an entirely new generation of people to do the same. We are proud to be part of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative’s efforts to train nearly 13,000 people to become more effective leaders and advocates within the HIV community across the South and hope that each can have impactful conversations just like ours with DaBaby.”
“We hope DaBaby will use his platform to educate his fans and help end the epidemic,” Gilead continued.
Organizations that signed the letter included the Gilead COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers at Emory University, the University of Houston, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Wake Forest University along with at least 44 COMPASS partners including Arkansas Black Gay Men Forum, Partnership To End AIDS Status Inc. (PEAS), My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., Relationships Unleashed, and Advocacy House Services.
In a statement posted on the GLAAD website, the collective said the following:
“The open letter to DaBaby was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for. Our goal was to ‘call him in instead of calling him out.’ We believed 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.
During our meeting, DaBaby was genuinely engaged, 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. 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.”
According to the statistics and statements by those in attendance, the shame and stigma associated with HIV are just as deadly as the virus.
“We must hold the media accountable to the 1.2 million Americans living with #HIV who are not seen, represented or discussed. Their stories matter and are beyond worthy of being told.
@dashawnusher via @GLAAD