On The Vine: That ain’t DaBaby

·4 min read

I wish I was shocked. I wish I could say that I was upset, appalled or dismayed. But all I could manage to muster while watching DaBaby gallivant about the stage spewing ignorant, homophobic and from your granddaddy’s side of the pillow rhetoric, was an eye roll.

DaBaby’s comments during his show at Rolling Loud — in which he seemingly condemned people with HIV/AIDS and, among other things, told fans, “fellas, if you ain’t sucking nigga’s d**k in the parking lot, put your cellphone lights in the air” — was not surprising.

That’s generations of Black men being bred to be “strong.” Generations being taught, and told that the only way to survive the block, the hood, hell even the world is to be “strong,” to be “a man.” You can’t be sus, even if you have to front.

Rap, and the culture it’s bred, in many ways the very culture that birthed me, is simply a product of the environment artists come from. That environment, by little to no fault of their own, is so often one where fighting to survive — “being a man” — is a necessity.

Rap has historically been a concentrated representation of that fight, that culture. It’s why someone like Lil Nas X is so refreshing, and inspiring and gratifying. It’s also why a new wave of unsurprised eye rolls came when DaBaby doubled down on his comments and right to speak his mind, and then when T.I., Tory Lanez and Boosie seemingly came to his defense.

No one told y’all you couldn’t say what’s on your mind, but for an artist who for many came into the popular consciousness as a feature on Dua Lipa’s — a crowned modern day patron saint of the LGBTQ community — hit “Levitating,” it’s hella disappointing.

Furthermore, don’t cry when you get dropped from Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, and a host of other music fests hours after what’s on your mind burns through the internet (oh so far he’s still scheduled to play the Azura in Bonner Springs Aug. 14. Should he be?). Guess when your mind hits your pocket, then it’s time to apologize... Which he did — eye roll.

“I want to apologize to the LGBTQ+ community for the hurtful and triggering comments I made,” the 29-year-old rapper wrote on Instagram. “Again, I apologize for my misinformed comments about HIV/AIDS and I know education on this is important. Love to all. God bless.”

The only slice of solace to come of this is that Miley Cyrus has offered to help educate this man. That’s good, I guess.

For real though, GLAAD, along with 10 LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS organizations penned an open letter to DaBaby in which they provided some much-needed facts on the matter. You should take a minute to read that, actually.

Around the block

Maya Neal of KC Tenants rallied for the Tenants Bill of Rights outside City Hall in October.
Maya Neal of KC Tenants rallied for the Tenants Bill of Rights outside City Hall in October.

Here’s what the new eviction moratorium means for Kansas City renters and landlords

A new evictions moratorium was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday, which on one hand marked a major victory for activist groups and politicians fighting for something to be done. But is it enough?

The Star’s Anna Spoerre writes:

KC Tenants leaders said Wednesday that 1,276 people are on the eviction docket for rental debt. More than 150 are on the docket Thursday in Jackson County, said Tara Raghuveer, director of KC Tenants.

“Those evictions, many of them will still go on even as this new moratorium takes effect, and that will be a devastating consequence both to the people who are evicted, but also to our community,” Raghuveer said.

The new order was issued three days after a moratorium that began in September expired. It applies to parts of the country experiencing substantial and high risk of COVID-19 transmission, temporarily halting evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions. This includes every county in Missouri.

The order covers tenants or residents who indicate to their landlord that they have “used best efforts” to obtain rental or housing assistance from the government and who either made no more than $99,000 in 2020 or expect to make no more than $99,000 in 2021, according to the CDC.

“This is really devastating for both the landlords and the tenants,” said Robert Long, president of Landlords Inc., adding that the decision by the White House requires landlords to bear the burden of the pandemic even longer.

“We don’t see this as a war between [landlords] and our tenants,” Long said. “We understand that we both have to be able to succeed to do what we need to for the other.”

Check this out too...

Beyond the block

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo might want to read his father’s 1984 “Tale of Two Cities” speech.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo might want to read his father’s 1984 “Tale of Two Cities” speech.

All The Governor’s Enablers: Cuomo Advisors Face Blowback Over Sexual Harassment Report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been embroiled in sexual harassment allegations and investigations for months. On Tuesday that came to a head, when investigators said they substantiated sexual harassment allegations against him from 11 women, many of whom have worked for him, The Associated Press reported.

What’s more, as is so often the unfortunate case when talking about a man in power abusing it, a web of enablers and bullies perpetuating a predatory environment was unveiled.

Jake Offenhartz writes for Gothamist:

As the explosive findings of a sexual harassment investigation threaten to bring down Governor Andrew Cuomo, the report is also sending shockwaves rumbling toward his close circle of formal and informal advisors.

Through hundreds of hours of sworn testimony, text messages, and handwritten notes obtained through subpoenas, the exhaustive investigation details a culture in which young women were bullied and abused by Cuomo for years, then intimidated into silence by the governor’s top aides.

“This goes beyond just enabling — they actively dissuaded and put obstacles in the way of survivors,” said Jennifer Becker, the deputy legal director and senior attorney for Legal Momentum. “They were complicit in the abuse.”

Don’t miss...

Activist Cori Bush speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in St. Louis. Bush pulled a political upset on Tuesday, beating incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay in Missouri’s 1st District Democratic primary. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Activist Cori Bush speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in St. Louis. Bush pulled a political upset on Tuesday, beating incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay in Missouri’s 1st District Democratic primary. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Cori Bush slept outside the Capitol to protest evictions. Democrats credited her for the renewed protections.

I often say we need to stop looking to Black women to save us, but thank God they’re trying regardless.

The Washington Posts’ Jaclyn Peiser writes:

Wind whipped along the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday night as rain pattered, slowly soaking Rep. Cori Bush’s sleeping bag. She struggled to get warm — a familiar feeling, she said. Two decades earlier, the Missouri Democrat, who then lived in her car, spent sleepless nights shivering as she held her two young children in her arms.

This time, Bush chose to brave the elements. For three nights, she slept outside the Capitol, joining activists and fellow Democratic lawmakers protesting the lapse in the federal eviction moratorium, which had protected renters during the pandemic. The move drew national attention, forcing the White House to respond to Bush’s demands to temporarily halt evictions after Congress went on recess without addressing the issue.

On Tuesday, Bush’s campaign succeeded.

For the culture

James Baldwin in ‘I Am Not Your Negro’
James Baldwin in ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

I very much wanted to write about James Baldwin this week, but my palms would get sweaty. Like I thought he’d read it or something. I wanted desperately to avoid coming off as daft or vapid. The man, who would have turned 97 years old on Aug. 2 means so much to me — a muse, a guiding light.

He’s been there through much of the last year-plus, in the aftermath of the George Floyd’s death, in the constant reminders of the lack of care my country shows for me. When I talk about critical race theory, I’m talking about Baldwin. He is, in my mind America’s most prolific, careful and staunch critic because, as he said:

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, writes:

The work of the novelist and essayist James Baldwin demands that we resist the mythologies of history, shed our self-protective innocence, and confront the truth of our history and present condition. In 1962, Baldwin published the essay of his life, a portrait of race, class, history, and religion, in The New Yorker. “Letter from a Region in My Mind,” which was expanded into book form as part of “The Fire Next Time,” traces Baldwin’s early years in his father’s Harlem church and his meeting with the leader of the Nation of Islam; it is a ferocious examination of his inner life and the inner life of this country. “Black people, mainly, look down or look up but do not look at each other, not at you, and white people, mainly, look away,” he writes. “And the universe is simply a sounding drum; there is no way, no way whatever, so it seemed then and has sometimes seemed since, to get through a life.”

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