By Christine Siamanta Kinori
Last night at the iconic MTV Video Music Awards, no one owned the spotlight like Lil Nas X. The 22 year-old rapper showed up in a custom lilac, gem-encrusted Atelier Versace suit with a sweeping train and took home three awards. His jaw-dropping performance of his two hit songs ‘Montero’ and ‘Industry Baby’ left us in awe. He also began his speech with an epic “thank you to the gay agenda.”
Anyone who has been following his career know that Lil Nas X has not had an easy time after publicly coming out as gay in June 2019. At the time, his song ‘Old Town Road’ had been topping the charts. People took to social media to share their shock while Lil Nas X simply replied that it was obvious and he had thought people already knew. Others went on to attack him for being a Black, gay rapper. Needless to say, the hip-hop world was shaken to the core.
While it is unclear if it was the social media storm or other factors, Lil Nas X announced he was taking a break from music and cancelled two shows by September 2019. It wasn’t until October that he returned to public interviews, where he spoke on how he was taught from childhood to hate homosexuality and the inner turmoil he faced before publicly coming out at the height of his career. The rapper reemerged more confident and worked tirelessly to prove that a queer rapper could be successful as well.
Lil Nas X came back empowered and unapologetically himself. Now, he’s revolutionizing hip-hop. He is bringing the gay agenda to everything he does. While some people are bothered by all of it, the LGBTQ+ community has embraced the new rapper. His music is doing all the talk and proving that controversies and homophobic attacks will not be keeping the young artist down.
Lil Nas X has mastered the art of reveling and growing in a toxic environment. The more they complain, the queerer his music and performances become. This year alone, the rapper has been caught in several controversies. The release of his song ‘Montero’ sent jaws dropping when the video featured him giving Satan a lap dance. He took it all in stride and gave an even racier performance when he intentionally kissed one of his male dancers on the mouth during the BET Awards.
A few months later, he had social media’s blood boiling when he released his line of customized Air Max 97s Satan shoes which contained actual human blood. The Christian community came for him on social media and urged people to boycott his music. He also caught the ire of homophobic audiences when he released the video for his latest hit ‘Industry Baby,’ which featured a naked prison-shower dance scene.
Lil Nas X’s readiness to be bold and push boundaries on a mainstream level is empowering and inspiring. The hip-hop industry has a history of homophobia, but he is working to change that narrative and make it inclusive. Lil Nas X is provoking the hip-hop community to do better when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. It is not easy. We still see and hear rappers making hurtful and damaging comments about the LGBTQ+ community. But hopefully, with the support of his fans, Lil Nas X will continue to make unapologetic music that inspires people to live proudly in their truth.
About the Author:
Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.
Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.