NLE Choppa has been on a health kick for a few months, resulting in the 18-year-old rapper dropping a new mixtape and encouraging fans to pursue meditation and veganism. Unfortunately, it looks like he may have gone too far down the wellness rabbit hole, joining the growing cadre of hip-hop stars who probably should have paid better attention in bio class. “Stay away from the vaccines,” he tweeted on Sunday. “I repeat stay away from THEM VACCINES.”
Stay away from the vaccines, I repeat stay away from THEM VACCINES
— NLE Choppa (@Nlechoppa1) December 14, 2020
His tweet puts him firmly on the side of anti-science stars like Kanye, who refuses treatment for his bipolar disorder, and Pete Rock, who also recently came under fire for tweets questioning the efficacy of vaccines and reposted a social media hoax about vaccines causing Bell’s Palsy.
In truth, they’re just the latest victims of widespread misunderstanding about what vaccines are and how they work, as well as the burgeoning anti-vax movement begun by aggrieved parent groups looking for explanations for childhood disorders like autism. As anti-vaxxers spread misinformation about the side effects of the treatments online, that misinformation often morphs, taking on bits of other conspiracy theories and giving people who already have valid reasons to mistrust authority even more reasons to do so.
However, the fact remains that the anti-vax movement puts more people at risk than it could ever potentially “save,” even if those fears were founded. Vaccines have helped eliminate diseases like smallpox and polio in the United States, which could have run rampant and harmed thousands left unchecked. As COVID-19 has already contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in America this year alone (not to mention those who could have been helped had the medical infrastructure not been overwhelmed treating coronavirus cases instead of other serious illnesses), a vaccine could save even more people in the near future.
When it comes to beats and rhymes, trust the rappers. But for everything else, please listen to the experts, not YouTube conspiracy theorists and hoax memes on Instagram — which is where those rappers are usually getting their information from.