Lil Nas X is a multi-award winning singer/songwriter & pop culture phenomenon. LNX came on the scene to critical acclaim in 2018 with his own unique brand of country with trap elements, on the 14x Diamond single “Old Town Road”, which he later remixed with the feature & mentorship of country music star, Billy Ray Cyrus. Though everyone quickly took to the undeniable hit, a good portion of the same new fandom turned their backs on the singer when he came out as gay.
It seems quite ridiculous to believe the thought of someone living in their truth, loving whomever they choose to love & embracing their sexuality in 2021 is such a divisive topic, yet here we are. LNX has never hid behind any form of false-sexuality representation, in fact he often details how he was shamed for it since a child. When it comes to his sexuality being known by the masses, he simply informed us when he was ready & in a manner that he was comfortable with, which he more than deserves. From what LNX has revealed through a long series of social media posts, in unison with songs like “C7osure (You Like)” & “Sun Goes Down” he’s always known & accepted himself, it’s everyone else who hasn’t. He’s detailed how the ridicule & harassment of homophobic people have often been the source of self-doubt, depression & even thoughts of suicide.
While fame can be a difficult way of life for some to navigate, it seems as if LNX is made for the limelight with how flawlessly & brilliantly he navigates the shark-infested waters of fame in the digital age, where everyone has a critique of him & his sexuality. Fame seems to have allowed LNX to come out in the most efficient way possible, allowing him to use the airwaves to make it something of a one-and-done, even if produced at the highest level & in such a grand way. LNX has been bullied the majority of his life by homophobic people, who believe if they shout their disdain for him loudly enough that they’ll drown out his voice, but love is bigger than hate, so they’ll always lose. Is it any surprise now that LNX has the world in the palm of his hand, that he uses his platform & his power to empower himself & encourage other people that identify as LGBTQ+? He doesn’t need to rely on hateful tactics & belittling, cause who he is & what he stands for is simply more powerful than anything that could ever be thrown at him. He’s also not alone, whether hateful bigots want to accept it or not LGBTQ+ peoples make up a large portion of our society & our youth & they will not be silenced easily, if at all.
Things seemed to come to a head when LNX made the legendary-trollish homoerotic video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, a video in which he pops his shit about a secret lover indulging in a life of partying, casual drug use, jet-setting & spontaneous sex. In the video he enacts his own recreation of the biblical story of Adam & Eve, later descending to Hell & seducing Satan with an impressively hilarious lap dance. The video quickly caused outrage, to which LNX doubled down & released a limited run of “Satan” themed Air Max 97s in collaboration with MSCHF. The video, as well as the shoes, colored red & black, emblazoned with 666, a golden Pentagram & rumored to contain a drop of human blood in each sole were subject of national news cycles, boomer twitter outrage & hilarious pearl-clutching, Bible-thumping viral church sermons. Christians constantly waterboard the LGBTQ+ community with threats of Hell & eternal damnation, while confusingly preaching how God accepts all as they are, yet they never consider how empty such things ring to people straight, gay or otherwise, if they don’t believe in God or an afterlife at all. The assumption that everyone believes in anything besides what’s in front of them or what they’ve experienced in this life is so confusing to me, being that no one’s a monolith. We all have the freedom to believe in who & what we want, even if that means nothing at all or only ourselves, regardless of how it may differ from that of the next person. This notion that Christianity or heterosexuality is the norm is hilariously outdated & tone deaf, so who could blame LNX for slam-dunking an alley-oop his own haters threw to him?
As a black man in America, I can say the LAST people who should be shitting on LNX or hoping for his downfall is the black community. Do we not fight enough battles & endure enough struggles in our own skin at the hands of forces far greater than us, be it the government, over-funded abusive police & false monolithic perceptions of what a black man ‘should be’? Why would we add to the weight of what our own brother bears, especially if he isn’t hurting anyone, but uplifting them & creating a space for them to exist in peace? The black community has a strongly homophobic false-fear of the feminization of young black men that just simply does not exist. No one is forcing young black queer youth to be anything they don’t want to be or do, besides other heterosexual-identifying people, cause they’re scared of anything they aren’t familiar with. How can you accept what you’re afraid of if you never even attempt to familiarize yourself with ways of life outside of that of your own?
Thankfully, it seems as if someone at BET, a prominent multimedia company in the black community is listening, because not only were prominent queer black artists, like LNX & Tyler The Creator invited, they both were allowed the creative freedom to attend, as well as perform their sets on their own terms & neither dropped the ball. A full creative spectrum was represented. Tyler gave us DJ Drama accompanied, Gangsta Grillz branded rappity-rap-rap with an impressive performance of “LUMBERJACK” from “Call Me If You Get Lost”, a stage design donning an oldschool Rolls Royce & an ominous countryside windstorm. LNX went exact opposite & gave a skin-revealing, sensually heavy, choreographed rendition of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” with a small interlude tribute paying homage to Michael Jackson, set to the tune of “Remember the Time”, which he ended by kissing one of his background dancers. It’s incredibly refreshing to see LNX lean into who he is & challenge peoples hatred of him, while he shines brightest.
We live in an age of over-sharing. Everything must be broadcasted at all times, we all seem to yell at the wind in a digital space. It appears as if LNX didn’t start to make grand productions of his sexuality until homophobes began to try to bully him back in the closet, where they were more comfortable with him being. In that way, homophobes created the very production of LNX we’ve come to know & love. LNX has seemingly come out of the closet, taken over the house in which it’s inhabits & made the entire place a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community & it’s honestly such a beautiful thing to witness. To see a young, gay, black man defy every box people try to put him in, overcome every obstacle that’s placed before him, all while trolling people & getting rich, has a certain poetry to it. LNX lives in a musical & he’s the protagonist. His haters are unruly antagonists in the nosebleeds, while those of us who love him & his music are in floor seats, screaming his lyrics back to him & living in love, not concerned with the small shrill of hatred that seems a million miles away.
While LNX the queer, iconic, genre-bending, record-breaking multimillionaire, who was nearly homeless only five years ago, definitely has more fans than haters, I truly believe, we may all be equally responsible for his success. One could say LNX, sexuality aside, is a direct creation & product of those that oppose everything he stands for. So as a fan, myself, I’ll continue to sing along & support. Haters…keep on hating, LNX is a star & he will shine regardless.
STORY BY: Trevor Thompson