Performing at the festival last week, DaBaby said to the crowd: “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS… put your cellphone light up… Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone light up”.
The rapper has since come under fire for the remarks, with Questlove taking to Instagram to condemn DaBaby. The drummer shared an imagined “dream list” of artists he’d want to perform at a contemporary version of the 1969 Harlem festival Summer Of Soul, which he covers in a new documentary. DaBaby’s name appears on the list, however, it has been crossed out.
“I’m not trine be all performative smurf & create a social flogging or start some click bait headlines. That’s missing the point,” he wrote. “But right is right & his actions are wrong. Somebody Gotta say it: Homophobia/Transphobia/Xenophobia/Misogyny/Racism——this should go w/o saying is morally wrong.”
“I had to say something… black people already have a code about publicly criticizing so I’ll admit i was slow to do this because I mean he don’t know me from Adam…But man…..that shit was not cool at all.”
“Huey Newton wisely stated in the early 70s that we as a people should NEVER go so low in life (with what we been through) that we start oppressing/terrorizing the next man in the way we been terrorized for centuries… Y’all gonna learn that there are other human beings living in the space you are.”
As per XXL, DaBaby responded to Questlove on his Instagram stories by claiming to not know who the drummer was, despite being backed by the Roots for a performance on The Tonight Show in October 2019.
“I ain’t even tryna be funny when I say… I do not know who dis nigga is dawg,” he wrote. “And I do not care ’bout losing you as a fan my boy lol @questlove. You or any other nigga who wanna play follow the leader. This superstar was a fan of is stand up nigga, yeen never seen one of these huh?”
DaBaby was also criticised by leading UK HIV and Aids charity, Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), saying his remarks “perpetuate HIV-related stigma and discrimination, as well as spreading misinformation about HIV”.
The rapper has since released a music video addressing the controversy, which ends with the message “Don’t Fight Hate With Hate” in rainbow lettering, and the statement “my apologies for being me, the same way you want the freedom to be you”.