Updated: Sep 23, 2021
Headlines are created to capture attention regardless of if a story is good, bad, true, or false. The original duties of a journalist were designed to keep it’s audience and communities informed by reporting only accurate data but so many journalists have been led to compromise the original purpose of their positions to isolate scenarios which fit narratives solely beneficial to the reporting outlet. Simply distributing accurate data has commonly been replaced with single sided perspectives or narratives. The question now is how did so many press reporting agencies transition from acting as an entity of service and informing the masses, to manipulating propaganda and competing for the most shocking headlines? How did we get here? While those questions remain unanswered, it may be wise to note that, financial gain or the potential to become an authority in the industry can explain most of the leveraging but as consumers of press media, it’s important that we learn to identify when this is happening to avoid being used as pawns in their games or getting finessed down that rabbit hole.
How did the press twist Dababy’s words? Everyone knows the story but very few know the facts. Yes, Dababy did make explicit statements on stage during the Rolling Loud concert but did the press accurately report the context or did they insert their own? Finally, you will learn the truth and even how some major news outlets failed to quote Dababy correctly before publishing articles about the event and thus making it several times more controversial than it would have been minus the propaganda.
In Dababy's circumstance, he made himself an easy target by making broad enough statements which are easy to twist, to add or subtract context to. What started off as an attempt to entertain an audience was quickly taken and misconstrued by media outlets everywhere. Several thousands of people read the headlines before even hearing what the rapper said out of his own mouth. The problem with that is, the majority of the media outlets failed to accurately report and in turn, influenced the masses on how to feel or react.
Let's take a quick dive into some of the most popular accusations following the Rolling Loud concert.
The overwhelming majority of headlines accussed DaBaby of (1) being homophobic and/or making homophobic statements, (2) lacking education about AIDS/HIV, (3) some articles went as far as to make the claim that DaBaby implied AIDS/HIV is linked to gay people.
Now let's take a look at what some major media outlets claimed DaBaby said:
The Grammy-nominated rapper used crude language and asked attendees who weren’t gay men or people not affected by HIV or AIDS to raise their cellphone flashlights. He then incorrectly said the disease would “make you die in two or three weeks.” (Take note of what this article claimed Dababy said versus where they placed the quotation marks. Do you see the problem with this paragraph? This particular news outlet decided to fill in what fit their agenda or theme and then added just a portion of Dababy’s quote. Anything outside of the quotation marks is altered and added on by the writer to fit context and/or to backup the outrageous headlines which would imply that Dababy is homophobic. This is a trick that often goes unnoticed but done with the intent to lead the reader believe the full statement is a direct quote)
Dababy said if you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’’ make you die in two, three weeks then put your cell phone light up” (The problem with this portion of the quote may be hard to catch but a word is missing, a very important word which has the ability to change the entire context and slam the claim which implied Dababy spread false information about HIV or AIDS. The missing word from this quote is, or. When Dababy said “HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly diseases that will make you die in 2 to 3 weeks…” leaves room for the possibility that he meant another unknown disease which separates the first part of his statement from the second part, which could very easily mean that if a disease like that [of Dababys description] exists in addition to AIDS or HIV.)
What Dababy actually said:
“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 or three weeks, put your cellphone light up,”
“Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone light up. Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone light up.”
The last part of Dababy’s statement, where he refers to the ''fellas'' has more to do with a sexual act being performed in a public space, (such as a parking lot) more than it has to do with gender or being gay, and yet while the type of PDA described can be viewed as tacky, risky, or even un-classy (due to the fact that it’s illegal) he didn’t actually condemn it, he never shamed anyone for it, and he never shamed anyone for being gay, he actually never even said the word gay which all further connects to a valid point which he also mentioned in a response to the public slander.
"It'll never translate correctly to somebody looking at a little five, six-second clip from their god**** crib on their phone. It just don't work like that."
"Because, regardless of what you mother******* are talking about and how the internet twisted up my mother******* words, me and all my fans at the show, the gay ones and the straight ones, we turned the f*** up.""I'm talking about my boy that was at the front of stage left, where I jumped Ask him. He got clips all on his s***, the whole night he was recording. We were turnt the whole night."
"My boy had the crop top on front row. He out there in that jungle, in that water. He out there, he standing on the rail, goddamn cutting up. He knows the words to the song. I'm rapping them b****** with 'em."
"I wasn't going on no rant," that's called a call to action—that's what that's called. Because I'm a live performer. I'm the best live performer. I'm the live show killer. You interact with your fans, you get what I'm saying?"
"All the lights went up, gay or straight. You wanna know why? Because even my gay fans don't got f****** AIDS... They don't got AIDS."
"My gay fans, they take care of theyself, they ain't going for that. They ain't no nasty gay n*****. They ain't no junkies on the street."I said, if you ain't sucking d*** in the parking lot, put your cellphone light up. You know what my gay fans did? Put that mother******* light up."
"My gay fans, they ain't going for that. They got class. They ain't sucking no d*** in no parking lot. You gotta get a room, a good one—five-star hotel.... Even my gay fans got standards."
Here is the definition for Hate Speech:
abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Let's look at the definition of controversial:
giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.
A difference in views, especially in public, between individuals taking opposite sides on a particular issue.
Now, take a look at the definition of homophobic:
having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against gay people.
irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or gay people.
Without bias, ask yourself which of these three definitions best describes Dababy’s quote, if any. The press reporting outlets took advantage of the emotions of one of our most vulnerable communities, the LGBTQ, a community which undergoes real hate and discrimination on a daily bases. It is not only wrong, its malicious, and greedy to entice the LGBTQ community in a misquoted, inaccurate, poorly-reported story for any chance of monetary gain or exposure.
Conclusion: Dababy did not shame gay people, he did not accuse gay people of having any kind of diseases, nor did he ever use the word gay to do describe anyone in his statement. He also did not link AIDS/HIV to dying in 2 weeks, which falsely the allegations. Dababy’s statements were profane but the allegations defining them have been proven to be 100% false; allegations which also can be classified as slander or defamation. These are the facts, everything else is only speculation being passed as facts and lets face it, putting your cell phone light in the air isn't exactly an elite privilege which have abilities to effect the well-being of ones life. Entertainers around the world have been using this same method called ''call for action'' for decades, for the purpose of engaging their audience in their performance, just like how Dababy asked his fans to put their cell phone lights up and the statements following that are often switched up per entertainer or performance for originality purposes.
After breaking down the key factors in this story, it only becomes more clear that hate speech wasn't present in Dababy’s performance. It may be fair to say that the context is controversial or even up for speculation but it’s not fair to misquote, make harmful claims, or assume what he meant without giving him a chance to clarify or even consider the many attempts he made to do so. Not even one of these news outlets cared enough to ask DaBaby what he meant behind his statements; they all just continued to insert their own context or spread misinformation like a domino effect reaction while refraining from fact-checking; lacking accountability and compassion for their participation in Dababy’s defamation. Just because it seems that everyone is doing something, doesn’t always make it right, right? Any other celebrities or people with influence making statements in response to those headlines and stories without further analysis, are just victims of bad press but they also play as key factors in the overall instigation of the initial allegations, and are indirectly supporting misinformation.
Psychology trick 101: If you read the headlines first and then listen to an audio of what is actually said you can easily be influenced to hear or perceive it differently. Whether or not you like Dababy, or are a fan of his music, it’s very important that we support fair press and condemn the rest, along with media bullying. It’s crucial that we protect our 1st amendment right, which is the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. If we ignore defamation and misinformation in press, it will likely continue to be normalized, enabling this kind of behavior, which also makes it more likely to happen to you or someone you know or care about. Injustice for one is injustice for all. Let's keep the integrity of journalism alive.
“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. Media has the power to influence the minds, ideas, behaviors, and attitudes of the masses.’’ ~Malcom X
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