Christine Silak ‘22, Business and Ad Manager/ Circulations Manager
When Lil Nas X released the music video on March 26 for his single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” social media was quick to flood with responses from both haters and fans. The video depicts Lil Nas in various mythical, religious, and historical settings, telling a story of sin, isolation, and redemption. He is shown seducing Satan with an erotic lap dance, murdering him, and stealing his horns, crowning himself the “king of Hell”.
While the video resonated well with fans who felt they could relate to the themes of banishment and reclamation, critics were divided with some taking issue against the mature content considering Lil Nas X’s semi young fan base. Backlash was stirred by critics who claimed the video promoted an evil agenda and the emasculation of men. Rapper Joyn Lucas said, “With no disclaimer [Lil Nas] just dropped some left field ish and all our kids seen it.” Lil Nas’ unassailable ignorance, however, seemingly overpowered any backlash he received. He unapologetically owned his sexuality and threw it in the face of his haters by starting conversations, stirring up moral debates, and promoting pride for the LGBTQ+ community through defiance.
In response to his video, senior Darby O’Donnell said, “[I] think that his music videos aren’t as controversial as they need to be. It wouldn’t have been offensive to people if he had not been gay. If he had been straight, people would not have been offended. He objectifies men and that offends people.”
Most recently, Lil Nas brought attention to his album release, Montero, following the drop of his single. On Instagram, he posted a picture doing a mock maternity shoot, announcing that his “little bundle of joy ‘MONTERO’ is due September 17, 2021.” While the post made his album a hot topic, it also started conversations about gender norms and the breakthrough that Lil Nas X started for the community. “Lil Nas X has become one of the leading role models to the LGBTQ+ community because of his constant defiance to gender norms and his prideful commitment to his identity,” senior Andrew Brenner said. “We all look up to him as someone who is unafraid to be himself. We strive to have even a little bit of his confidence. He has become a role model not only to [me], but to a whole community.”
Instead of acting in spite of his sexuality, Lil Nas embraces it. His unapologetic commitment to his identity as a gay, black rapper has allowed him to achieve a breakthrough in the industry while also inspiring others to share his same defiant pride.
Lil Nas told TIME Magazine in an interview that he wants “to be part of music and media that is cutting edge and starting conversations.” In regards to his sexuality he said, “I want to be part of a conversation that actually applies to my situation and so many people that I know.”
With no intention of slowing down, the music community and fanbase should continue to expect riveting media and moves from Lil Nas X.