On March 25th, 2021, Lil Nas X released his song called “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” Lil Nas X is most known for the release of “Old Town Road.” With responses from the public to his new music video, casual or negative, Lil Nas X’s song has stirred up a conversation about whether it was appropriate or not.
The music video has biblical imagery and the single has a theme of sin. Keep in mind that Lil Nas X played every single role in the music video. The film starts in the Garden of Eden where Adam/Eve is approached by a snake and is kissed by the snake. The scene advances to Lil Nas X wearing a “Marie Antoinette-like wig and outfit while getting stoned to death at the Coliseum.” Lil Nas X is seen pole dancing from the sky to hell where he enters a castle, leading up to him seducing and giving a Satan/devil figure a lap dance. At 2:27, “Damnant quod non intelligunt ” is written in Latin which means “They condemn what they do not understand.” The video closes with Lil Nas X breaking Satan’s neck and wearing his horns. Montero is Lil Nas X’s legal name, and “Call Me By Your Name” is a reference to the novel with the theme of gay romance.
With the video having over 90 million views on YouTube and 3.5 million likes and 347k dislikes, the visuals of the video have become a hot topic. On one side, people praise him for his artistry and expressing his queer side, while the other side criticizes the shoot. Conservatives accuse the music artist of promoting sexual content and for being excessively “satanic.” Parents argued that the single is not “PG” for their kids to see. Fox News even called Lil Nas “desperate and pathetic.” Some conservatives went as far as having a back-and-forth tweeting quarrel with Lil Nas X himself.
However, Lil Nas X claimed it was intentional. In an interview with TIME, he expresses, “I want to be part of a conversation that actually applies to my situation and so many people that I know.” He recounts his years growing up living in a Christian household and understands the repression the LGBTQ+ community faces. He admitted that he spent his teenage years hating himself because of what the religion preached—homosexuality is a sin. “So I hope you are mad, stay mad, [and] feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves,” his message on Twitter.
Though Lil Nas X is receiving much backlash on social media such as on Twitter and TikTok, he responds to criticism with no care in his voice. Lil Nas pole dancing to damnation has become a meme on TikTok.
In theme with dropping his new music video, Lil Nas X has collabbed with MSCHF, a streetwear company, to release “Satan Shoes.” Adorning a pentagram, an upside cross, the words “Luke 10:18”, and a drop of human blood in the sole of the shoes, MSCHF plans to release 666 pairs of the modified Nike Air Max 97 selling for over $1,000. The team of the streetwear company confirmed that it is their own blood sample inside the shoes.
Nike came out with a statement along the lines of the company having no connections with the project, and the company is now in the works of suing MSCHF. Nike is alleging that MSCHF bought an abundant amount of their shoes to have them altered, with the result of the chance of the public mistaking the “Satan Shoes” as an approved product under Nike. Nike wants to take all the money MSCHF profited off on the “Satan Shoes,” yet the pair of shoes is not counterfeit. MSCHF has sold Nike customized shoes before like the “Jesus Shoes” and Nike has said nothing in the past.
Lil Nas hopes the LGBTQ+ youth learns from these recent events that whatever they’re feeling is normal. Many individuals found the course of events inspiring, for they once had to wait many years to come out and are happy Lil Nas X is embracing his true self. At the end of the day, no matter how much his single created controversy, Lil Nas X stays unapologetic.