The Chicago-based music festival Lollapalooza announced on Sunday morning that rapper DaBaby would not perform as previously scheduled that day. The statement arrived after DaBaby spewed a litany of vile and homophobic remarks at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami, which we’d prefer not to repeat.
“Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love,” the festival’s statement read before announcing line-up changes. (Young Thug was moved from an afternoon slot to prime time.)
DaBaby’s ignorant comments sparked a response from Sir Elton John on social media and prompted collaborator Dua Lipa to say she was “surprised and horrified.” The remix of her song “Levitating” with DaBaby is now being phased out of radio play and streaming playlists in favor of a solo version. (One crafty fan unofficially replaced him with Megan Thee Stallion.)
Responding to DaBaby’s remarks about people living with HIV/AIDS, GLAAD’s associate director of communities of color, DaShawn Usher, wrote on Twitter that “it is critical that DaBaby and his fans learn that people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV.”
Despite the pushback, DaBaby, a six-time Grammy nominee whose three studio albums have all gone platinum, with the most recent two reaching number one on Billboard’s Top 200, defended his comments. “I wasn’t going on a rant. That’s called a call to action,” he said in an Instagram Live video, as reported by CNN. “That’s what that’s called, cause I’m a live performer.”
(For a thorough and nuanced look at the problem of homophobia and hip hop, read this recent Craig Jenkins essay in Vulture.)
DaBaby is also no longer on the program for the British Parklife festival in September. His camp alleges he pulled out months ago, but Stereogum reports that the festival promoted his name more recently. The clothing line boohooMAN dropped the rapper this week.
The last-minute cancellation by Lollapalooza, the music and arts festival created by Perry Farrell 30 summers ago, immediately trended on social media. The festival itself, meanwhile, has received no shortage of criticism for being a potential coronavirus super-spreader. Defenders, including Chicago’s Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady, have cited the event’s Covid protocols demanding proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, plus the outdoor nature of the event, as reasonable mitigating factors.
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