Lil Nas X is continuing to storm the internet with the recent release of his new single, ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ and a pair of trainers that are proving too hot for some social media users. The video has clocked over 60 million views on YouTube, since its release, with the track predicted to soon debut as No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Through the entire project, Lil Nas X has boldly shared his experiences navigating sex, romance and shame as a queer person. Issues that relate to millions of LGBTQ+ folk around the world too, and it’s about time we spoke about it.
Every detail of ‘Montero’, from the track’s lyrics to the video’s luscious visuals, is blessed with unapologetic queer energy. Speaking with Genius, Lil Nas X explains that his intentions were to normalise queer sex through his songs. By doing so, creating more space and proving that queer narratives can exist in pop music.
“Let’s normalize having these f***in’ lines in songs the same way, you know, somebody might talk about f***in’ a girl or f***in’ a guy, you know, with opposite genders, you know? I feel like that’s really important for representation in general, and this is gonna open more doors for one day, when somebody says this, it’s like, ‘Oh, that person said that and I didn’t think about it,’ you know?”
lil nas x’s call me by your name slaps so there is no way he’s going to hell bc I know for a fact god likes good music
— hailey (@hailey__sophia) April 1, 2021
The release has caused a striking divide on social media. Some are praising Lil Nas X’s bravery as a mainstream artist to share these unfortunately common taboo topics with the world through the inescapable medium that is pop music, while others are condemning the artist, and his message, with some leaving him with prayers of forgiveness in the comment sections across his platforms.
Some users identifying as LGBTQ+ are disagreeing with the video, with one person writing on Twitter, “I’m gay but not that type of gay, this is cringe.” This could be an aspect of queer culture, in particular among cis-gendered gay men, that Lil Nas X is tackling through the video – a rejection of something that’s ‘other’, a desire to latch onto traditional ideals as a means to be seen as more ‘acceptable’ in major society. After all, attraction to the opposite sex is something that the church has long taught world culture should be seen as unnatural.
Personally, I don’t think there’s room for these narratives rooted in shame to continue to thrive. Lil Nas X proves through ‘Montero’ that the power is in the hands of the individual to flip that narrative around. Our roots as queer folk ought not to be in shame.
Lil Nas stands proudly on his platform as a black queer man. By sharing his own struggles with self acceptance as an individual through his art, he also stands as a reflection for those in his collective communities who have gone through or continue to suffer the same issues surrounding their identity.
In an online article for the North Texas Daily, Homophobia’s dark presence in the Black community, Michelle Monari writes: “Being both Black and a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a difficult journey many Black individuals go through … as a community, we must address and tend to the needs of Black LGBTQ+ individuals in order to progress as a people.”
Whether through praise or condemnation, there’s no denying the importance of this moment regarding LGBTQ+ life and culture on a global scale.
Lil Nas X has set a bold new standard in the pop culture dome, generating much-needed conversation and widening the doors for future queer artists to come forward, embrace their identity and, as we see Lil Nas X do at the end of the video, claim their space too.
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