By: Nina Gonzalez
Lil Nas X’s new song MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) is a song that expresses his sexuality and is an effort to help normalize it within our society. The song itself did not stir up controversy all around the world; His music video and “Satan Shoes” he created in collaboration with the brand MSCHF that contained a drop of real human blood is what blew up the internet. Each of these gave the artist a bad rap in many viewers’ eyes. The shoe was to promote the video and song however, the music video contains a message that many people are looking past.
In the music video Lil Nas X is seen in a garden under a tree playing his guitar until he is seduced by a serpent. These actions consequently bestowed a stoning upon him by other stone versions of him. The next part is where it takes a turn and people lose his point of view and give him a societal label as evil. The next scene depicts Lil Nas X ascending up to Heaven greeted by an angel until a pole emerges and he grabs on to it and starts descending down to Hell pole dancing. Once in Hell Lil Nas X gives the devil a lapdance and then kills him to take his horns.
Photo Via MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) Music Video
Lil Nas X is not a stranger to pushing past social norms. As a gay black man Lil Nas X faces struggles of validation, whether it be from the music industry, viewers or both. However, he faces every battle head on and does not seek validation outside of his own person. His first hit song “Old Town Road” challenged who could be considered country and sparked conversation about race. He landed the 19th spot on billboard’s country charts, but was soon taken down as they said his song did not have enough elements of country to be considered a country song. Now people think that he conveyed his message the wrong way. Lil Nas X is in control of his own career and he is free to express himself anyway he pleases, except unfortunately, in this society everything comes at a price of judgement.
Critics of the MONTERO video have called Lil Nas X evil and claimed that he worships the devil and others have even bashed it for not being appropriate for children. However, this has a powerful meaning for the LGBTQ+ community. So many people fear coming out as they don’t want to be cast out, or given labels according to societal standards that assigns them doragotory traits and gives notion to discrimination.
Not being afraid to defy social norms, Lil Nas X is no stranger to criticism. Many parents are concerned about their children watching this video because it is not kid friendly and they believe that it is sending the wrong message. Lil Nas X is 22 years old and he is free to make any kind of music that he wants and his music is not aimed for kids. His last hit “Old Town Road”, was very big among children. Lil Nas X pointed out on twitter that Old Town Road was not for children either as he wrote “i literally sing about lean&adultery in old town road. U decided to let your children listen. blame yourself.” His song that was pegged for children wasn’t even meant for them, they were never his target audience. MONTERO deals with the topic of homosexuality and suddenly it is not appropraite for children. This song has explicit lyrics, regardless it wasn’t meant for them anyway.
Photo Via Lil Nas X Twitter
People of the LGBTQ+ community are constantly told that they are a sin, they are not supposed to love the same gender, they are going to go to Hell if they don’t change, etc. Lil Nas X took this prejudice and completely owned it. The point of his video was to say that he would rather go to Hell, as people claim is his inevitable fate due to his sexuality, than not be able to live as his true self. By killing the devil and taking his horns at the end of his video, Lil Nas X is stripping him of his power. By killing the thing that he was raised to be so scared of and taking its power he is symbolizing killing the prejudice and realizing the power and worth that he and each member of the LGBTQ+ community has and should harness.
Lil Nas X wrote a letter to his 14 year old self on twitter reading:
Photo Via Lil Nas X Twitter
As a teenager he promised to keep his sexuality a secret till the end of his time. It is not fair that people who do not identify as straight, or the gender they were assigned at birth, or the body they inhabited by default are ridiculed by this societal hierarchy created to demean everyone who is not a straight white man. He wrote “ i know we promised not to be “that” type of gay person,” meaning it was instilled in him that it was wrong to be openly gay, but now that he has a career that brings milllions of fans and a major platform he is able to speak his truth and help others do the same despite how scary the process may be. He wants people to live the way they want to, the way they were born, free of judgement and persecution.
Many people may see Lil Nas X as evil because of his sexuality or for his new music video where he gives the devil a lap dance, but that was a power move. He owned the prejudice that being gay is a sin. He basically made a state of if my sexuality, something that makes me who I am, makes me evil then so be it. People say that if your gay you will go to Hell, so that is exactly what Lil Nas X did. He killed the fear of being openly gay and took back his power, quite literally when he killed Satan in his music video. He inspired millions around the world, and helped people of all ages feel more comfortable being their true selves.