On August 31, leaders from nine HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ organizations confirmed they had met virtually with Charlotte-based recording and performance artist Da Baby, also known as Jonathan Kirk.
Among the organizations involved in the conference were GLAAD, Arianna’s Center, the Black AIDS Institute, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Prevention Access Campaign, Relationship Unleashed and the Gilead Compass Initiative, which included representatives from Southern AIDS Coalition, Emory University, and Wake Forest University.
A joint press release concerning the meeting was released by GLAAD, indicating the rapper had listened to the concerns of multiple HIV/AIDS organizations and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and had reportedly apologized, but no specifics were given as to his exact words.
The joint statement reads as follows:
“During our meeting, Da Baby was genuinely engaged, apologized for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect.
“We appreciate that he openly and eagerly participated in this forum … which provided him an opportunity to receive accurate information.”
The meeting followed what has become the Troutman (a suburb in the Charlotte Metro region) resident’s biggest blunder of his relatively young career: a concert performance – Rolling Loud Miami – with audience exchange banter that quickly took on a disconcerting and offensive tone when he made negative references to gay men and offered clearly ill-informed and inaccurate comments about HIV/AIDS.
In the weeks and months that followed Da Baby apologized to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV/AIDS. He also retracted his apologies and reissued them on multiple occasions.
Scant media coverage has appeared following his latest reported apology, so it would appear that most have become disinterested with Da Baby’s on-again, off- again, erratic behavior over the issue.
In the statements given by GLAAD, the meeting was described as “private,” which might explain why the rap artist’s supposed comments were only issued in a paraphrased manner.
While it would appear Da Baby hopes his latest apology will put the issue to rest, he has posted nothing further on social media. Combined with the lack of any specifics in the GLAAD-issued statement, the effort comes across as half-hearted.
Not surprisingly, said apology has been received by mainstream media, fans and other recording artists in a similar manner, continuing to leave Da Baby and his career in a vague state of limbo.
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