DaBaby Levitating remix losing US radio audiences after the rapper's comments on HIV/AIDS

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Rapper Dababy (cropped).jpg

DaBaby performing in 2019.
Image: Azhern123.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Following remarks by the rapper DaBaby regarding HIV/AIDS at a Miami, Florida festival, his remix of Dua Lipa's song Levitating has lost a significant amount of radio audience in the United States of America. Yesterday, Billboard reported that, out of all the radio plays for Levitating, DaBaby's remix now only makes up 49.5% of the radio plays for the song, a 20.7% decrease from last week.

At a performance at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami, DaBaby told an audience, "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 cell phone light in the air", and went on to say, "Fellas, if you ain't suck a nigga dick in the parking lot, put your cell phone lights in the air." Lipa responded on her Instagram story by writing that she was "surprised and horrified" by DaBaby's words, adding that "we need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS".

Audacy, which is the second-largest radio group in the USA, told Billboard that they had removed the remix of Levitating from their stations "in light of DaBaby's homophobic statements". Jeremy Rice, who is the programming and branding director of Long Island-based WBLI in New York, has said that his station shifted to the version of Levitating that solely features Lipa, saying that WBLI management "just think it's the right thing to do" given what he called DaBaby's "plain wrong and hurtful" comments.

Fellow rapper T.I. defended DaBaby, arguing that "If you have a Lil Nas X video, and him living his truth, you gone damn sure have people like DaBaby who are going to speak they truth." Lil Nas X is a gay rapper, who released the music video for his single Industry Baby on July 23, which "depicted him and a crowd of male dancers seemingly performing nude", with their genitals blurred, according to Snopes.

Although DaBaby initially stood by his comments, on August 2 he apologised "to the LGBTQ+ community" for what he called "my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS". While saying that he appreciated "the many people who came to me with kindness, who reached out to me privately to offer wisdom, education and resources", the rapper also wrote that "social media moves so fast that people want to demolish you before you even have the opportunity to grow, educate and learn from your mistakes".