Saweetie Says 'We All Bleed the Same' as She Addresses Homophobia in Rap: 'We're All Equal'

Following her performance with Sprite's Live from the Label, Saweetie catches up with PEOPLE about standing up for "what we believe is right" and her development as a rap artist

Saweetie. Photo: Courtesy of Sprite

Saweetie believes in mutual respect, regardless of people's sexuality or gender identity.

In an interview with PEOPLE following her set at Sprite's Live from the Label concert series, the 28-year-old rap star addresses the recent reckoning about homophobia within the rap community following DaBaby's insensitive comments about gay people and those living with HIV/AIDS.

"I think that it's important that we all respect each other. We all bleed the same," she tells PEOPLE, referring to her LGBTQ fans. "We're all human beings. I was raised in a household that believes in respecting everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they do, because at the end of the day, we're all equal."

"We all need to call out what we're uncomfortable with," she adds. "We need to call out what we stand for and for what we believe is right."

It's a sentiment that fellow female rapper Megan Thee Stallion shared with PEOPLE earlier this month, when the "Body" rapper said, "Representation is important, and it is really crucial for us all to have compassion and acceptance of every human."

Saweetie. Courtesy of Sprite

During the interview with PEOPLE, Saweetie also opens up about developing her artistry over the last year and how she's learned to take care of herself first.

"I just needed to sleep," she admits to PEOPLE, adding that she sleeps between four and six hours a night. "Before the pandemic, I wasn't sleeping."

Teasing her upcoming album Pretty Bitch Music ("Great things take time, so I'm taking my time with it," she says), Saweetie explains that she's put in much effort into improving her artistry and stage presence.

"I noticed that I have to give more emotion when I'm performing because I feel like I have a lot of self-confidence, but it's important that I show that through movement, I show that through facial expressions," she says, explaining that she hopes viewers see her "growth" in upcoming shows. "I'm just trying to find a balance right now between entertaining, and between being myself."

"I feel like if you're paying to come see me, you have to leave with a gift, and the gift is entertainment," she adds. "My goal is to always just put on a show."

Saweetie. Courtesy of Sprite

And she did exactly that as she performed at Sprite's Live from the Label event at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. Performing in front of fans who watched virtually, Saweetie performed some of her greatest hits from "Icy Grl" to "Tap In" to "My Type," along with several tracks from her Pretty Summer Playlist.

In one stage set, the singer sang from behind a wheel in a prop car as she paid homage to her origins as a rapper when she'd share freestyle vehicles from behind her Toyota.

"I felt good. I've been working really hard," she says about the performance. "I was definitely paying homage [to my roots], but it didn't feel like my Toyota!"

The performance with Sprite also comes as Sawetie released her specialty meal with McDonald's — the latest in Saweetie's entrepreneurial efforts. (She also boasts a collab with Quay sunglasses.)

RELATED VIDEO: Saweetie Says She's 'Always Been a Hustler' as She Gears Up for Debut Album: 'I'm an Artist, Honey'

"What makes the Icy brand so special is, nobody's doing what I'm doing, and I'm always going to exceed," she says. "And my plan is to dominate for as long as I'm on this earth."

As for what's next for the rap star? She teases a campaign collaboration with Cher, whom she describes as "an amazing woman." "She gave me a lot of wisdom," she says without giving too many details for what's to come.

Saweetie (C) performs at Sprite's Live from the Label Virtual Concert Series headlined by multi-platinum-selling songwriter & rapper Saweetie at the Hollywood Roosevelt on August 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California
Saweetie. Rich Fury/Getty

With the star-studded collab on the way, Saweetie has one thing on her bucket list: "Shout out to my USC kids," she says, referring to her college alma mater, where she graduated with a degree in communications. "Make sure y'all are on the lookout because I will eventually come back to campus to teach my own class!"

Fans who'd like to watch her live performance can still do so by purchasing a bottle of Sprite with a special QR code and visiting the Live from the Label website.

The next performer to join the concert series is Jack Harlow on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

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