Saturday, October 1, 2022

Rap’s #Respect5DaBaby controversy: A look at how the rapper is recovering after his apology

After the internet latched onto the initial homophobic comments rapper DaBaby made against a fan, and egged on by sponsor Gap, the rapper’s concerns for his reputation turned into an ongoing, torrential backlash against the rapper and even his shoe sponsors, selling off shares and reconsidering their relationship with the Florida rapper.

“I’m sorry. I have to start by apologising to the woman who said my statement was real,” he said in a video on his social media.

“To those people that have believed in my music. I’m sorry for believing in your pain and [me] spewing ill-feelings and things I should never say in public,” he added.

“I feel confident that you see that I’m not ignorant. We’re just lost. We’re just confused and I feel bad for not knowing that that’s not what I really think.”

Upon listening to the initial apology, one Twitter user, @WattWhatsGonnaCostU, wrote:

how do they even remember to use earpiece in rap more often than they have used air because it takes an hour on 2 languages and cuz usually it’s all about the flow not 3 > — katie (@wattwhatsgonnacostu) June 20, 2018

“I put a lot of work and time into my music so that people can look up to me. I know my work speaks for itself.”

According to Straight Like That, comments made by DaBaby in a 4Chan thread were reprinted on a Chicago Facebook page that the rapper had “blamed for his slump.” In the threads, DaBaby implies that he’s the victim of a hoax, and that a horde of fake Twitter fans has led his career to the brink. In response to those comments, Rosy Group co-founder Jeff Ross posted on Facebook that he was consulting with GayRoots, the organization behind the Yale March Madness, the anti-bullying tournament, to determine which companies had sponsored DaBaby in the past and if they’d have the morals to back him now, if anyone.

“Until these companies, and the individuals who support them, can stand strong with others, for more equality, for the full expression of who we are as a people, our true future is still in jeopardy,” GayRoots’ website reads. “Failure to foster a clear sense of equality and inclusion will only result in even more of our youth to resort to isolation and silence, and thousands to risk their lives.”

Gap responded that they were withholding donations to DaBaby until the conversation had been resolved between the rapper and himself.

“We want the conversation to continue so we can find a positive direction for his career,” Gap wrote in a statement. “We don’t agree with these statements and we will not be contributing any further funds to his campaign.”

In response to the public shaming, Sankofa, also one of DaBaby’s shoe sponsors, offered an apology for their association with the rapper and resolved to take the time to understand the controversial words used.

“With our relationships in the local community, it has been brought to our attention that we have offended a large part of our populations in the areas in which we have operated,” Sankofa’s CEO, Rachel Sankofa, said in a Facebook statement. “Therefore, effective immediately, we will cease direct product placement of DaBaby at our stores and expand our policy to not merchandise artists or brands that promote hate.”

DaBaby’s latest single “Glory”, which featured the rapper moving onto a much sleeker soundscape, was dropping on Saturday. Many fans were hoping that his statement would help to salvage his career, but instead, viewers were left feeling rattled and disconsolate.

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