DaBaby: Raging Homophobe or Just Closeted? 

While it happened over a month ago, the DaBaby controversy still sticks in my mind as one of the most laughable moments in hip-hop history. Not because of the comments he made, but because of how relentless and obstinate he seemed when making them. It was like he was really trying to convince people that he hated gay people. 

It started at Rolling Loud when during his performance, DaBaby could be heard announcing homophobic obscenities. He told people to turn on their cell phone lights if they didn’t have HIV, AIDS or any other sexually transmitted diseases that could “make you die in two to three weeks.” The man is already a mediocre rapper, so he could have done without putting his lack of knowledge on blast. He then shamed men for performing oral sex on other men in parking lots (I don’t know if he’s alluding to sex workers in this comment or not, but either way he seems to be familiar with the topic) and claimed that womens’ vaginas should smell like water (he must really dislike vaginas then). I couldn’t help but laugh. 

It was not long before he started receiving backlash. He lost brand ambassador deals, was dropped by several music festivals and received a ton of public denunciations from other music artists including Madonna, Elton John and Dua Lipa. Even after all of this, DaBaby stood by his comments, claiming them to be a “call to action.” A call to action to do what? Stop people from dying from HIV two to three weeks after contraction? 

Finally, DaBaby realized that maybe he was wrong… but only about some of the things he said. “Anyone who done ever been affected by AIDS/HIV y’all got the right to be upset, what I said was offensive even though I had no intentions on offending anybody.” He still maintained that those who did not attend his performance twisted his words… even though the entire show was live streamed. He addressed the controversy again in a music video released on July 28, where a message read, “My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you.” He claimed that his plight is merely a result of people wanting to take money out of his pockets and food out of his kids’ mouths. 

DaBaby really took “Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone” to a whole new level. He stood by his homophobic and sexist degeneracy, and lost millions of dollars doing it. That’s dedication right there! Rapper T.I. defended the artist, claiming that if Lil Nas X gets to be openly gay, then why can’t Dababy be openly homophobic? 

I’m sure every person has experienced a moment in their life when they were denied something that a lot of other people had, and as a result tried to convince themselves that they were actually against that thing. For example, when I was younger, all my friends wanted to go see a movie, and their parents had allowed them to go. But when I asked my mom to go, she said no because we had other obligations that day. I spent the next two hours trying to convince myself that the movie was stupid anyways and it was dumb they were going to see it. To some extent, homophobia and same-sex desire works the same way. Most, but not all, homophobes identify as such because they, too, experience same-sex desire, but their own up-bringing and conservative social environments have taught them that this lifestyle was shameful. Homophobia is merely an effort to try to convince oneself that homosexuality is wrong, as a response to witnessing people that are able to live freely and claim their sexuality. 

A study done by Adams et. al. titled “Is homophobia associated with sexual arousal?” attempts to support this phenomenon with scientific data. A group of homophobic men and non-homophobic men were exposed to a series of “sexually explicit erotic stimuli.” Their erections were measured in response to each of the videos. The authors reported having measured erections in men after all different categories of pornography (heterosexual and female homosexual tapes). There was only a difference between penile response when it came to the homosexual tapes: the group of homophobic men were the only ones who achieved an erection upon viewing the videos. 

These results, of course, cannot be generalized. However, it speaks volumes. T.I. claims that Dababy merely spoke his truth, in a world where many affluent artists such as Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X get to live theirs. But the question remains: is DaBaby LIVING his truth?