Lollapalooza drops DaBaby performance after homophobic comments

Lollapalooza cancelled a Chicago performance by the rapper DaBaby on Sunday because, the music festival said, it was “founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect and love”.

“With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.”

The rapper came under fire for homophobic comments during a performance in Florida last week.

“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 cellphone lighter up,” he said, at Rolling Loud Miami.

“Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!”

Artists including Elton John, Demi Lovato, Madonna and Dua Lipa, who has collaborated with DaBaby, led condemnation. John said the remarks would “fuel stigma and discrimination”.

“HIV has affected over 70 million people globally,” he said. “Men, women, children and the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“In America, a gay Black man has a 50% lifetime chance of contracting HIV. Stigma and shame around HIV and homosexuality is a huge driver of this vulnerability. We need to break down the myths and judgements and not fuel these.

“… Homophobic and HIV mistruths have no place in our society and industry and as musicians, we must spread compassion and love for the most marginalised people in our communities. A musician’s job is to bring people together.”

Lollapalooza staged a four-day event in Chicago, attracting huge crowds. On Sunday, concertgoers were expected to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative test in order to gain entry.

DaBaby, 29, who was born Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, appeared to apologise in a video on Wednesday. A message said: “Don’t Fight Hate With Hate. My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you.”

In January 2020, in a Guardian interview which described him as “the PT Barnum of bop”, DaBaby said: “I like pushing the envelope and being creative. I’m a high-level performer – [it’s about] how I can take it to another level. I try not to be complacent in my music or with my performances. I gotta keep it fresh and rock out.”

The piece also discussed “a darker streak that inevitably shrouds discussions about him: most infamously, the late-2018 incident when … a 19-year-old was killed in a North Carolina Walmart, while DaBaby was shopping with his then one-year-old daughter, her mother and her mother’s five-year-old son from a previous relationship.

“He claimed in an online video to have acted in self-defence after a gun was pulled on him and the state ultimately dropped charges against the rapper for carrying a concealed weapon.”

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