DaBaby Dropped by Five Concerts in Response to Homophobic Comments
By Aaron Brest
Jonathan Kirk, better known by his stage name “DaBaby,” is still enduring the fallout stemming from his remarks during the Rolling Loud music festival. After a barrage from both fans and celebrities alike on social media along with a botched apology attempt, the rapper’s scheduled performances in five festivals were cancelled in quick succession.
Recordings of Kirk’s July 25 performance on Rolling Loud were immediately circulated on social media following an extremely profane tirade where the rapper spread misinformation about sexually transmitted diseases and made other misogynistic and homophobic comments. More specifically, Kirk—in an ostensible attempt to engage the crowd—told the audience to light up their cell phones if they “didn’t show up [there] with HIV, AIDS, or any of them sexually transmitted diseases that make you die in two-three weeks.”
(Along with this statement, Kirk asked two other largely objectionable questions to the crowd which have been expunged due to their profanity)
Because of their toll, these conditions are sensitive topics for many in the LGBTQ+ community, leading to complaints about his lack of consideration. Along with this, DaBaby was also called out for his untrue statements on HIV/AIDS itself and the nature of its lethality—which is dependent on numerous factors, but usually is 9-11 years from infection if untreated—and when treated, can remove any risk of premature death.
Among those voicing their concerns were outspoken advocates for LGBTQ+ issues such as Madonna, Elton John, and Dua Lipa. Lipa, who has previously worked with Kirk in her acclaimed track “Levitating,” wrote that she was “surprised and horrified at DaBaby’s comments,” and went on to call for readers to fight against stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.
The back and forth has continued with Kirk releasing his second apology on the third of August, a follow up to his first, poorly-received, initial apology to criticism.
Events started to take a turn for the worse two days before, on the first of August: Lollapalooza, a music festival where the rapper was supposed to perform announced that “[the concert] was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love” and “with that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Lollapalooza's decision sprouted a domino effect of concerts with Kirk on their program cancelling his planned performances, with the Governer’s Ball, Day N Vegas, iHeartRadio, and Austin City Limits festivals following suit.
Executives at Kirk’s label, Interscope, were reported to be “extremely upset” by his display at Rolling Loud.