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Miley Cyrus 'would love to talk' to DaBaby in the hopes of educating embattled rapper amid backlash


Miley Cyrus is extending an olive branch to embattled rapper DaBaby amid continued fallout over controversial comments he made at Rolling Loud festival.

The Cleveland native, 29, uttered several homophobic and factually inaccurate remarks about HIV/AIDS while onstage in Miami on July 25, which sparked outrage and has since inspired several music festivals to boot him from their rosters.

‘As a proud and loyal member of the LGBTQIA+ community, much of my life has been dedicated to encouraging love, acceptance, and open mindedness,’ began Cyrus, 28, in a letter published to Instagram on Wednesday.

Open letter: Miley Cyrus is extending an olive branch to embattled rapper DaBaby amid continued fallout over controversial comments he made at Rolling Loud festival

Open letter: Miley Cyrus is extending an olive branch to embattled rapper DaBaby amid continued fallout over controversial comments he made at Rolling Loud festival

Instead of lambasting DaBaby, the Hannah Montana alum attempted to communicate the value of ‘educating’ the ignorant instead of ‘canceling’ them.

‘The internet can fuel a lot of hate & anger and is the nucleus of cancel culture…but I believe it can also be a place filled with education, conversation, communication, & connection,’ she wrote.

Miley stated that it’s ‘easier to cancel someone than to find forgiveness and compassion in ourselves or take the time to change hearts and minds.’

‘There’s no more room for division if we want to keep seeing progress! Knowledge is power! I know I still have so much to learn!’ she concluded her post.

Olive branch: 'As a proud and loyal member of the LGBTQIA+ community, much of my life has been dedicated to encouraging love, acceptance, and open mindedness,' began Cyrus, 28, in a letter published to Instagram on Wednesday; Miley pictured in 2020

Olive branch: ‘As a proud and loyal member of the LGBTQIA+ community, much of my life has been dedicated to encouraging love, acceptance, and open mindedness,’ began Cyrus, 28, in a letter published to Instagram on Wednesday; Miley pictured in 2020

Backlash: The Cleveland native, 29, had uttered several homophobic and factually inaccurate remarks about HIV/AIDS while onstage in Miami on July 25, which sparked outrage and has since inspired several music festivals to boot him from their rosters; DaBaby pictured at Rolling Loud on July 25

Backlash: The Cleveland native, 29, had uttered several homophobic and factually inaccurate remarks about HIV/AIDS while onstage in Miami on July 25, which sparked outrage and has since inspired several music festivals to boot him from their rosters; DaBaby pictured at Rolling Loud on July 25

Taking to the caption, the We Can’t Stop singer tagged DaBaby and asked him to ‘check your DMS,’ suggesting she had reached out to the rapper privately, as well. 

‘@DaBaby check your DMS – would love to talk and see how we can learn from each other and help be part of making a more just and understanding future!’

In one last attempt to turn a negative into a positive, Miley informed the Suge rapper, as well as her 140million followers, that ‘@greaterthanaids is a great resource!’ for information about HIV/AIDS.

She also tagged the Instagram account for her nonprofit the Happy Hippie Foundation, which works to ‘provide homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations with consistent support services, education and employment opportunities,’ according to the foundation’s official website. 

Forgivness and love: Miley stated that it's 'easier to cancel someone than to find forgiveness and compassion in ourselves or take the time to change hearts and minds'; Miley pictured

Forgivness and love: Miley stated that it’s ‘easier to cancel someone than to find forgiveness and compassion in ourselves or take the time to change hearts and minds’; Miley pictured

Earlier in the day, nearly a dozen prominent HIV/AIDS organizations reached out to DaBaby, also hoping to educate him on the negative implications of his ignorant statements made at Rolling Loud. 

11 groups came together to send an open letter to the rapper on Wednesday, urging DaBaby to ‘use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.’ 

During his set, DaBaby told audiences: ‘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 cell phone lighter up…

‘Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d*** in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up.’

The backlash was swift, with celebrities like Levitating collaborator Dua Lipa and prominent AIDS activists Elton John and Madonna all expressing their dismay.

Reaching out: 11 prominent HIV/AIDS organizations have reached out to DaBaby in an open letter, asking the rapper to 'use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.' He's seen in June above

Reaching out: 11 prominent HIV/AIDS organizations have reached out to DaBaby in an open letter, asking the rapper to ‘use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.’ He’s seen in June above

Second try: On Monday DaBaby - real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk - shared a second apology, in which he said sorry for the 'hurtful and triggering comments' and claimed he used the backlash as a way the 'educate' himself about the LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS

Second try: On Monday DaBaby – real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk – shared a second apology, in which he said sorry for the ‘hurtful and triggering comments’ and claimed he used the backlash as a way the ‘educate’ himself about the LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS

He has since been been dropped from prominent festivals, including Lollapolooza, New York’s Governors Ball, Austin City Limits, and iHeartRadio music fest. 

And now, he’s hearing directly from the HIV/AIDS advocacy community. 

The organizations Arianna’s Center, Black AIDS Institute, GLAAD, the Normal Anomaly Initiative, Prevention Access Campaign, Relationship Unleashed, and the 6:52 Project Foundation joined leaders from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative including Southern AIDS Coalition, Emory University, the University of Houston and Wake Forest University to craft the statement.

In the detailed letter, they touched on the danger ‘fear and stigma’ over HIV/AIDS  causes while providing information and statistics about the virus.

They also pointed to the music industry historical support for their cause, writing: ‘Music artists have historically led the way to lift up understanding of HIV and accelerate LGBTQ acceptance.’ 

On Monday DaBaby – real name Jonathan Lyndale Kirk – shared a second apology, in which he said sorry for the ‘hurtful and triggering comments’ and claimed he used the backlash as a way the ‘educate’ himself about the LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS. 

Taking to social media with a black and white text post, he struck a more conciliatory tone than his first mea culpa, but still criticized the public for ‘trying to demolish’ his reputation.

‘Social media moves so fast that people want to demolish you before you even have the opportunity to grow, educate, and learn from your mistakes,’ he began.

‘As a man who has had to make his own way from very difficult circumstances, having people I know publicly working against me— knowing that what I needed was education on these topics and guidance— has been challenging.

Sorry, not sorry: After an underwhelming initial apology, DaBaby doubled down in his self-directed music video for Giving What It's Supposed to Give depicting him holding an AIDS sign and oral sex from a redhead

Sorry, not sorry: After an underwhelming initial apology, DaBaby doubled down in his self-directed music video for Giving What It’s Supposed to Give depicting him holding an AIDS sign and oral sex from a redhead

‘I appreciate the many people who came to me with kindness, who reached out to me privately to offer wisdom, education, and resources. That’s what I needed and it was received,’ he continued.

Adding: ‘I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made. Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important. Love to all. God bless.’

DaBaby’s second sorry was a sharp turnaround from his previous response to the backlash.

Last week, the Ball If I Want To rapper issued lackluster apology, tweeting that he had ‘no intentions on offending anybody’ and acknowledging what he said was ‘insensitive.’

Then the very next day, DaBaby doubled down in his self-directed music video for Giving What It’s Supposed to Give depicting him holding an AIDS sign and oral sex from a redhead.

The hip-hop star concluded his suspiciously-timed video with a rainbow-shaded message reading: ‘Don’t fight hate with hate. My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you.’ 

Open Letter to DaBaby from 11 prominent HIV/AIDS organizations

We, the undersigned, represent organizations leading the fight to prevent HIV and provide care and treatment for people living with HIV, especially Black LGBTQ people across the Southern United States.

We heard your inaccurate and harmful comments at Rolling Loud and have read your Instagram apology. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical. We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.

2021 marks the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the greatest obstacles in our work to end HIV are the compounded stigmas attached to anti-Blackness, living with HIV, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ attitudes and stereotypes, all of which are fueled by misinformation. Fear and stigma keep people, particularly Black Americans, from accessing HIV prevention or care that White Americans have historically accessed and continue to access more easily. We believe you now have an opportunity to not just move past this unfortunate incident, but to use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.

We believe that anyone can be an HIV advocate by amplifying: how there is medication (PrEP) that can prevent people from getting HIV with one pill a day, how routine treatment stops the virus from being passed on by people living with HIV, how people receiving HIV care can survive and thrive while living with it, and how open and empathetic conversations eliminate stigma. You can be a powerful and influential voice, especially across your home base in the South, where the Black community’s needs are notoriously under-represented across every public spectrum. We encourage you to share this information with your fans and followers, and become an agent of truth and change.

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Music artists have historically led the way to lift up understanding of HIV and accelerate LGBTQ acceptance. Several artists and platforms have spoken up against you. While we appreciate their stand, we also invite them to take action and to do their part to end HIV by supporting organizations like ours serving people who are Black, LGBTQ and/or living with HIV.

As mentioned in your latest apology, education is important. We agree. GLAAD and Gilead Science’s 2020 State of HIV Stigma Study found that 90% of Americans believe “there is stigma around HIV,” that “people are quick to judge those with HIV,” and “people make assumptions when someone is tested for HIV.” There were a significant number of people (40%) who did not know that HIV can be treated. Nearly 60% wrongfully believe it is “important to be careful around people living with HIV to avoid catching it.”

Here are the facts:

– People living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot sexually transmit HIV. Treatment can suppress the virus to a point where it is no longer detected in a person’s body. When it is undetected, it is untransmittable, the key message of the U=U campaign.

– Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. 13% of them don’t know it, reinforcing the need for HIV testing and to end stigma around HIV testing.

– People most vulnerable to HIV are those with limited access to transportation, housing, healthcare, and social support. We should focus on advocating for resources in our community rather than stigmatizing women and LGBTQ people.

– Black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses (43%), people living with HIV (42%), and the most deaths among people with HIV (44%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S.

– The CDC states the U.S. South experiences the greatest rates of HIV and lags behind in providing quality HIV prevention services and care. According to AIDSVu, a program from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and the Center for AIDS Research at Emory University, 31,864 people are living with HIV in North Carolina, where you were raised.

– Medications like PrEP protect people who do not have HIV from contracting it. The CDC states that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.

As leaders of organizations directly serving Black, LGBTQ, and HIV+ communities, we invite you to a private, off-the-record, virtual discussion with us. You stated you now understand how and why your comments were damaging. An open conversation holds the potential for you to now create meaningful impact by transforming from an adversary to an advocate.





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