Lil Nas X under fire for new music video

Lil Nas X has hit headlines once again for his success in the Billboard charts, as well as for sparking controversy with the release of his new music video.

Nicole Espinoza, A&E Reporter

Lil Nas X has hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart once again after the release of his new single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” but the accompanying music video has faced controversy. While the video’s launch was wildly successfulcurrently it boasts over 100 million viewsand is dubbed by many as a symbolic masterpiece, backlash has come from others, in particular the Christian community, with ruffled feathers.  

Filled to the brim with expert symbolism regarding internalized homophobia and Greco-Roman art pieces, the music video starts off with Lil Nas X in an ethereal landscape, presumably in the garden of Eden. After falling to sin with the snake, he is put on trial and supposedly found guilty. With death as his punishment, it initially appears as though he will ascend to heaven, until he does a sudden pole dance down to hell in thigh-high latex boots and a stylish pair of black Calvin Klein briefs. Lil Nas X reaches the fiery gates of hell, giving Satan a lapdance and subsequently killing him, donning the fallen angel’s horns. Written on the floor of the throne room reads: “Damnant quod non intelligunt,” Latin for “they condemn what they do not understand.”

The master marketer celebrated his successful music video launch with a series of tweets, thanking his fans. He also followed with his launch of ‘“Satan shoes” a pair of sneakers designed with satanic imagery and even said to contain a drop of human blood, fanning the already spiking flames of backlash. Nike swiftly filed a lawsuit against the shoe’s designer, MSCHF, but not before the 666 available pairs had immediately sold out. 

Olivia Koski

In addition to his music video release, Lil Nas X dropped the browser game“Twerk Hero.” Fans all across the globe can control an animated Lil Nas X and shake away “temptations” while dancing to his hit song. Lofi remixes, new alterations of the music video  such as Satan’s extended version and Tik Tok duets have further projected the song’s popularity. 

Despite the provocative appeal, the singer wanted to normalize queer representation throughout pop culture. On Billboard, he breaks down the meaning of the lyrics, as well as detailing how his telling of his story has impacted himself and others. “It has so many key points even surrounding the song… which is why it’s going to be super important for me, and for so many other people.” 

Lil Nas X’s unapologetic style of embracing himself gives his audience a message about self love and acceptance. In an interview with Time magazine, Lil Nas X explains: “I wanted to use these things that have been around for so long to tell my story, and the story of so many other people in the community, or people who have been outcast in general throughout history.”

His inspiration for the song, being an actual relationship with another man, creates an altered perception of the genre itself. Binary depictions of gender and relationships have dominated representation of pop culture since the beginning of music. Lil Nas X challenges the norm, asking those to rethink the depictions bestowed upon us and protesting the rejection of queer narratives.