August 09, 2021
There has been a loud and disgusted backlash against US Rapper DaBaby after he made homophobic remarks. But queer MCs explain that there’s still more work to be done
DaBaby steps: is hip-hop finally conquering homophobia?
After seeing the online backlash to rapper DaBaby’s recent homophobic and misogynistic onstage remarks, Bugz Gutta was “shocked and grateful”. Born William Bailey, the up-and-coming New York MC, a proudly out black gay man, is still adjusting to such positive outcomes. He dubs himself “hip-hop’s Omar from The Wire”, thanks to his prior life of crime and the years he spent behind bars, enduring verbal, physical and Sexual Abuse before finding peace and success as a musician. He hopes the fallout that DaBaby has faced “sets an example. So people realise it’s not OK to put hate and harm out there.”
Last week, DaBaby ranted on stage: “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, Aids … that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up.” The rapper, whose 2020 album Blame It on Baby became his second US No 1 in less than a year, then said: “Ladies, if your pussy smell like water… Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.” As pushback mounted online, DaBaby truculently apologised – “But the LGBT community... I ain’t trippin on y’all, do you. Y’all business is y’all business” – and released a music video where he held up a sign reading “Aids” before shooting a pair of men. His Levitating collaborator Dua Lipa, the Roots’ drummer Questlove, Madonna and Elton John all decried him; US radio stations dropped his version of Levitating from playlists. After the Lollapalooza festival and others axed DaBaby from their lineups, he apologised more soberly on Instagram, but has since deleted that apology.
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