Rapper DaBaby in 2019; The Mann Center in Fairmount Park

💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.

A Philly event was the first of several music festivals to drop Charlotte rapper DaBaby from their lineup after he made a slew of homophobic and sexist comments.

The upcoming concert, called Can’t Wait Live, is coming to the Mann Center on Aug. 13. It was put together by the Working Families Party, the political group that helped elect the city’s first third-party lawmaker, Councilmember Kendra Brooks.

DaBaby, born Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, faced nationwide backlash after on-stage remarks during a performance at the Rolling Loud Miami festival at the end of July.

On the mic in front of the crowd, the 29-year-old recording artist began dropping offensive jabs about queer people, gay men, and women in general. “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking d-k in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up,” he said.

He also spread completely inaccurate misinformation about HIV and AIDS, calling them “deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks.”

Within 24 hours of DaBaby’s outburst, the Working Families Party had posted an official statement on Twitter. The group didn’t name names…but its updated lineup no longer mentioned him. Instead, they highlighted other performers booked for the free concert, like Saweetie, Wyclef Jean, Mavis Staples and DJ Jazzy Jeff. On Friday, the group announced it replaced DaBaby by booking R&B artist Ne-Yo for the event.

“We believe that it’s important to sustain and uphold our values while we fight for a better world, which is why WFP made the decision to remove DaBaby from the line-up,” said Nicolas O’Rourke, the organizing director for Pennsylvania’s Working Families Party.

Brooks, who ran for Council with the Working Families Party, thinks it made sense to drop him from the concert.

“The artists headlining this concert embody and champion the values of our shared vision for a more equitable future where all people can live with dignity and respect,” said the first-term legislator.

Other festivals all over the world followed suit. Concerts like Lollapalooza, the Denver event KS 107.5 Summer Jam, Parklife in the UK and the iHeartRadio Music Festival all opted to cancel their DaBaby bookings.

Philadelphia legend Questlove joined in. He had previously included DaBaby in a “hypothetical” lineup for a future music event based on his “Summer of Soul” documentary — so he put up a new list with the rapper’s name crossed out.

“Right is right & his actions are wrong,” Questlove wrote in the caption. “Somebody Gotta say it: Homophobia/Transphobia/Xenophobia/Misogyny/Racism — this should go w/o saying is morally wrong.”

The North Carolina rapper responded in his own Instagram stories claiming not to know Questlove, even though they’d played together a few times, including on The Tonight Show two years ago.

DaBaby first issued a bizarre pseudo-apology in a self-directed music video last week. At the end, the rapper holds up a sign reading “AIDS,” and the end credits included the message: “Don’t fight hate with hate. My apologies for being me the same way you want the freedom to be you.”

Then he apologized again, twice — first on Twitter last week, then on Instagram on Monday.

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

Meanwhile, more than a dozen LGBTQ rights organizations sent an open letter to DaBaby, asking to meet with him to share facts about HIV/AIDS and help him educate his fans.

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...