Posts tagged with "homophobia"

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

DABABY, HOMOPHOBIA × CANCEL CULTURE

By: Andrew Shibuya

No one thought that the return to normalcy – or at least the path towards it – would be without hurdles. Indeed, the past six months have proven similarly difficult to the previous twelve, and the coming few seem to promise no respite. And so, in the now past and brief interlude in mask mandates and lockdowns in the United States, surely one would think that crowded events such as music festivals would be about celebrating reunion and unity.

Unfortunately, with the precedent of a certain performer at Rolling Loud, it is clear that unity was not the first thing on everyone’s mind. No one has made this more clear than rapper DaBaby. During his performance at the festival, the rapper is reported to have said several homophobic comments including, “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,” as well as the peculiar, “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up.”

Of course, the Internet had something to say, and the deserved virtual tirade against DaBaby began. Twitter users in particular took up arms against DaBaby’s comments, lambasting the rapper for what they deemed to be some mixture of idiocy and ignorance.

And while fools’ remarks should hardly be considered worth coverage alone, the following onslaught and festivals’ responses are worth discussing. In the past week, numerous notable festivals have pulled DaBaby from their lineups, including Lollapalooza, New York’s Governors Ball, and Day N Vegas. The festivals all shared similar messages to their social media channels regarding the change, citing the need for and value of inclusion and diversity. The former’s message read: “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect. And love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Read our coverage of Lollapalooza and its implications with COVID HERE.

These festival changes seemed to have induced an apology from DaBaby, who, at first, was reluctant to apologize or recognize any wrongdoing. In response to the first wave of criticism, the rapper responded on his Instagram Story, stating, “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show. It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. Because, regardless of what y’all motherfuckers are talking about and how the internet twisted up my motherfucking words, me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

This was just the first response of many, with each becoming increasingly apologetic as more of his shows were cancelled. The most recent of his apologies, which many on Twitter have dubbed “DaApology,” reads: “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 knew education on this is important.” And while some fans online deemed his response to be acceptable, many did not see it as adequate.

Celebrities similarly took to Twitter and other social media platforms to offer their two cents on the situation. Many decried DaBaby’s words, such as his recent collaborator Dua Lipa, who claims to be incredibly taken aback by this side of DaBaby. Other big names in the music industry such as singer-songwriter Elton John and pop legend Madonna have similarly criticized the ignorance and inaccuracy of DaBaby’s comments on HIV and AIDS. Most recently, Miley Cyrus has shared on social media that she has reached out to DaBaby to “learn from each other” in the wake of this incident.

And still, some rappers and other industry names have come to DaBaby’s defense. Some, like rapper NLE Choppa, insist that this is just a slight hiccup in DaBaby’s career, with NLE Choppa recently tweeting, “Dababy Gone Come Out Bigger Than Ever While Y’all Tryna Down Play The Man.” Rapper T.I. similarly called for more equality and fair treatment for DaBaby, seeming to suggest the praise Lil Nas X has recently received. In an Instagram comment, T.I. wrote, “If Lil Nas X can kick his s**t in peace… so should DaBaby.”

DaBaby’s comments come after a recent onslaught of homophobic vitriol directed toward Nas X this past summer. Following the release of the rapper’s successful singles “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” and brazen accompanying videos, many – both fans and other rappers – took to Twitter. And while many people did support Nas X as T.I. seems to allude to, the openly gay rapper received far from unanimous praise.

In addition to spurring an inundation of homophobic sentiment online from quotidian users, Nas X proved to be similarly divisive amongst other rappers in the hip hop industry. While some voiced their support and praised the rapper’s bravery and bold works, some were similarly quick to voice their disproval. Many condemned the rapper for what seemed to them to be brazen lewdness, though many Twitter users thinly veiled homophobia.

The discourse over “cancelling” is rather interesting in light of so much present discussion over the actual existence of cancel culture and its implications. Especially in the music industry, where the effects of “cancelling” someone seem to be diminished – Chris Brown still plays on the radio, Dr. Luke still produces number-one hits, and most recently “cancelled” country singer Morgan Wallen has seen his popularity grow tremendously despite this year’s earlier controversy. This is in contrast with the film industry, where, although far from free from offenders, certain players have been blackballed far more effectively and efficiently.

Surely, all those people could be an argument against the existence of cancel culture. The consequences to their actions seem to have faded as quickly as people’s memories of their wrongdoings. And so, as to the question of whether or not DaBaby has been “cancelled” is unclear. The action against him – at least at the level of cancelling his headlining performances and shows – has so far managed to induce at least a single apology from the rapper. And while what lies in store for DaBaby remains unclear, one certainty remains – the Internet has at least some power to affect change in the real world.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

LOLLAPALOOZA × DELTA VARIANT

By: Clara Guthrie

Public health experts are warning that the crowded Lollapalooza music festival in downtown Chicago this past weekend may lead to a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases, especially given the increasing risk of the Delta variant. Festival organizers estimate 100,000 people attended the event each of the four days, and neither social distancing nor mask wearing (for vaccinated attendees) was enforced.

Despite concerns from medical professionals and a steady rise in Delta variant cases leading up the festival, both the Chicago Department of Public Health and Lollapalooza’s health experts approved the production of the festival as planned ahead of time.

Although operating at full capacity, the festival did have certain security measures in place in order to protect its guests; to enter, people had to show either their Covid-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative Covid-19 test from the preceding 72 hours. According to the festival’s website, they also required those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask.

In a statement released Monday by festival organizers, it was revealed that 91% of the attendees showed proof of vaccination, and 8% showed negative Covid-19 tests. The last 1% were denied entry due to a lack of proper documentation.

These statistics are complicated, however, by a claim from a Chicago Tribune photo intern, Vashon Jordan Jr., that fake vaccination cards were being used at the event. On August 1st, he tweeted, “Fake Covid-19 vaccination cards are 100% a thing at Lollapalooza in Chicago. You can get it with a single-day wristband for $50. I have confirmed that it does work.” In a separate tweet he clarified, “And by ‘fake’ I mean it doesn’t belong to the holder.” Jordan Jr. also recorded maskless concert goers dancing in large crowds and boarding public transportation—where masks are explicitly required—after the day’s events.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases, the precautions taken by Lollapalooza were simply insufficient given the prevalence of the Delta variant. Tan said that a safer event would have maintained smaller crowds, enforced social distancing and masks, and only allowed vaccinated individuals to attend. “When you have 100,000 or more people who are in a fairly enclosed space and there’s no social distancing, the vast majority are not wearing masks, you are going to get some transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant,” she said.

As of August 2nd, Chicago was reporting an average of 206 new cases each day, and many of those who are being hospitalized for Covid-19 are not vaccinated. These data reflect a recent and definite uptick in cases as the Delta variant poses a serious threat across the globe. Given the roughly two to 14 day incubation period for Covid-19, it is currently unclear just how Lollapalooza will affect these numbers in Chicago and its surrounding areas. According to Dr. Robert Citronberg, an infectious disease physician with Advocate Aurora Health, “The next couple of days you could potentially see cases. I think by next weekend we’re probably going to be having a good idea about how much transmission occurred because of Lollapalooza.”

What experts already know with certainty is that any transmission from Lollapalooza will not only affect Chicago and its suburbs but also the areas that people return home to after the festival, seeing as thousands of people travelled to Chicago just for the weekend. “The real problem is not so much that a bunch of young people who come into Chicago getting COVID at this event. The real problem is them taking it back to places that have very low vaccination rates,” Dr. Emily Landon, executive director for infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said.

According to the New York Times, roughly 70% of American adults have received at least one shot: a goal that President Biden set for the country to hit by July 4th but that took almost an extra month to achieve. And many individual states are struggling to vaccinate their population and thus are grappling with new Covid-19 cases and Covid-related hospitalizations. Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country, at 43.2% and 44% respectively. Illinois falls somewhere in the middle with 59% of its adults being fully vaccinated.

Lollapalooza’s controversy did not stop at Covid-19 concerns. On Sunday, the final day of performances, rapper DaBaby was pulled from his headlining spot after festival organizer caught wind of his previous homophobic comments. While performing at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on July 25, DaBaby made discriminatory and incorrect comments about gay men and HIV, which he later defended in a series of 19 videos on his Instagram stories. “What I do at a live show is for the audience at the live show,” he said. “It’ll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their goddamn crib on their phone. […] Me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the fuck up.”

Lollapalooza officials tweeted to announce DaBaby’s removal, saying, “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.” Fellow rappers Young Thug and G Herbo took his place. On Monday, DaBaby took to Instagram to apologize “for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important.”

Looking beyond the festival’s drama, Rolling Stone took a moment to celebrate the most positive and powerful moments from Lollapalooza, saying, “it was full of life-affirming musical moments.”

Superhero illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Black-Owned Superhero Brand

Aza Comics, owned by black woman creator Jazmin Truesdale and known for its roster of multicultural female superheroes, is aiming to continue providing hope and escapism for the world as people support the Black Lives Matter movement. “Aza Comics has always addressed the issues of black people in its storylines,” says Truesdale, “I’m just happy that now people are finally understanding what is happening and joining this fight that is truly everyone’s fight.”

The Aza Universe is centered almost entirely around women of color and has always tried to provide hope and inspiration for women around the world as they face various issues like racial inequity, sexism, misogyny and homophobia. This hits especially close to home for Truesdale as countless black women like Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor have yet to see justice in a time when black women face the highest rates of homicide in the US.  During this time, Aza Comics received an incredible growth in sales and exposure as more people discovered what the Aza superhero universe is all about. “I just want people to at least feel safe in their imagination,” says Truesdale.  “For black people and many other people of color, everywhere we look pain is reflecting back at us.  I want Aza Comics to be that escape where you can feel heard and empowered to fight another day.”

Aza Comics has a lot in store this year for its growing number of fans. “We will do what we’ve always done,” says Truesdale,” Continue to grow and enrich the lives of people of color around the world and partner with people and brands who truly care about the lives of others.”  The company plans to use its revenue to invest in entrepreneurs of color, support women athletes, expand its universe with more inclusive superheroes and do what it can to continue being a voice.

Aza Comics is a superhero brand based in Durham, North Carolina founded by serial entrepreneur and author Jazmin Truesdale.  The company is known for its multicultural female superheroes and philanthropic initiatives that have been featured in Vogue, TIME, USA Today, and various other national and international publications.

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