Remember when Lil Nas X (AKA Montero Lamar Hill) first dropped the music video for his song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” back in March? The track was released through Columbia Records as part of Lil Nas X’s debut album, Montero, and immediately caused controversy.
The song was causing a stir due to its steamy lyrics. The music video, which features Lil Nas X dancing on the devil’s lap, freaked some people out even more.
Many LGBTQ critics praised the “Montero” music video for being so unapologetic in its queerness. On the other hand, of course, many conservative viewers felt that the music video was “immoral,” and a bad example to young children.
Lil Nas X: Gen Z’s Favorite Pot-Stirrer
Basically, Lil Nas X has gone from being the random kid who dropped “Old Town Road” to a pioneer in the queer community and the music industry. But in the eyes of some nervous viewers, the star represents a frightening move toward a more accepting, authentic, and uncensored media landscape.
But this is nothing we haven’t seen before – Madonna’s music video for “Like a Prayer” and John Lennon claiming the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus” sent certain parts of society into a similar panic. We survived then, and we’ll survive now. At the end of the day, Montero Lamar Hill is just doing what makes him happy, and if you don’t see the humor in his approach, you might misunderstand him just a little.
Offended politicians and pundits weren’t the only voices speaking up against Lil Nas X’s music video for “Montero.” Joyner Lucas, who has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Video, praised Lil Nas X’s success before suggesting that because “Old Town Road” was so popular with kids, they would inevitably watch the music video for “Montero.” Joyner then implies that this would be harmful to children in some way.
“I literally sing about lean & adultery in ‘Old Town Road,’” Lil Nas X tweeted in response to “Lucky You” emcee, Joyner. “U decided to let your child listen. Blame yourself.”
The controversy felt similar to the backlash Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion received after dropping their music video for “WAP.” The same fears were raised over that one–the lyrics, the imagery, and the dancing were deemed too raunchy for younger audiences.
Lil Nas X Wins Big
At the VMAs on Sunday, the award for Video of the Year went to Lil Nas X for his bold, fearless work in “Montero.”
The 22-year-old, who arrived on the red carpet in a mullet wig and a sparkling purple suit, performed two songs at the event. A couple hours later, he was accepting his first VMA, and relishing in being one of the most influential names in queer music history.
Luckily, we’re at the point where Lil Nas X’s star power is beyond anything a little bit of backlash could threaten. These days, a dose of disapproval from politically motivated voices will often mean controversial artists receive more exposure, more views, and more followers.
We can’t wait to see what Lil Nas X does next in his career, because “Montero” was certainly just the beginning. The man is a master of entertainment, and a true artist when it comes to getting his trolls and haters a little riled up. How could you not love him?
Congratulations to Lil Nas X, and all the other winners of the 2021 VMAs!