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Local radio hosts urge influencers to be aware of spreading COVID-19 misinformation

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Rapper Nicki Minaj said in a tweet this week that she was hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because a friend of a family member in Trinidad became impotent because of the vaccine. Trinidad’s health minister has said the claim is false.

[Nicki Minaj’s claim that COVID vaccine can cause impotence is false, Trinidad health minister says]

Sandra McClammy and Brandon “Bigg B” Hickman are hosts on Coast 97.3 and have been heard on Wilmington’s airwaves for years. Now, they’re concerned about how the spread of misinformation can have an impact on listeners and fans.

“When you open the microphone your credibility is on the line,” said McClammy. “I think it’s very important that you’re not only sharing information with the public, that you’re trying to inform them, but you want to make sure you’re giving out the proper information.”

Both McClammy and Hickman say hearing that a world-famous rapper like Minaj has been spreading false stories to her more-than 22 million followers on social media is irresponsible.

“That is a prime example there of making sure that you’re careful with what you’re saying,” said McClammy. “She’s got fans young and old and she is a huge influencer.”

Hickman and McClammy say it’s important for anybody with a platform, from radio hosts to movie stars, to be aware of the influence they can have on people’s decisions when it comes to getting vaccinated and protecting themselves from the virus.

“You might not want to be a role model, but you are, and people are actually following you,” Hickman said. “So you have to give the actual facts, the things you went through. Be transparent, and that’s what increases your following, that’s what makes people love who you are because you are being yourself and not giving out false information.”

They say more popular celebrities need to be aware of the impact their words can have on fans.

“Many people turn on the radio, they turn on the television, to look for their influencers to see what they’re going to say and believe it or not they ride on that word sometimes,” McClammy said.

The Wilmington radio hosts say when speaking to their listeners they will be transparent and honest.

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