Homophobia reared its ugly and performative head last week when Montero Lamar Hill, also known as Lil Nas X unveiled the visual accompaniment to his latest song, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)."
The music video, which has amassed almost 40 million views in less than a week’s span, features the Georgia native donning an assortment of colorful hairstyles and pole dancing that would give the P-Valley dancers a run for their money. Set against a multitude of historical backdrops, ranging from heaven to hell, the Grammy award-winning artist can be seen performing a lap dance on none other than Satan himself.
y’all saying a gay nigga twerking on a cgi satan is the end of times like slavery and the holocaust didn’t happen
— nope ???? (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
Social media erupted with a myriad of responses to the literal display of Black boy joy. Many praised Hill for his ingenious storytelling and confidence while others accused him of perpetuating a demonic narrative aimed to cause the degradation of society as we know it.
Not only is the latter steeped in homophobia, the double standards are strikingly present as many of his peers, who happen to be heterosexual men, are rarely met with these sorts of accusations or expected to create music with the sole intent of being a good representation for children. These critiques are not only hypocritical, they’re homophobic.
For decades, straight rappers have been able to coast through Billboard charts promoting music that encourages misogyny, homophobia, physical assault and other hot-button issues that are less than appropriate for children. Earlier this year, in the music video for the remix to "Throat Baby," DaBaby was seen literally cascading on a bed of semen in a woman’s mouth.
While many of us can attribute some of our best college memories to the hip-hop group, Crime Mob, it shouldn’t be lost upon us that "Knuck If You Buck," while a cult classic, encourages physical violence for five consecutive minutes.
The commodification of women is also a prominent theme in many visual aesthetics released by Hill’s peers. Nelly made headlines when the music video for his single "Tip Drill" included a visual of him swiping a credit card between a woman’s buttocks as if she were a credit card machine. If the jury is still out on whether or not these music videos are worthy of the same backlash as "Montero," then it’s made abundantly clear that the real issue is Hill’s sexuality.
Most of the commentary surrounding the music video touches on Hill promoting demonic culture, pushing an agenda that targets children and encouraging hypersexuality. This baseless fodder was few and far between when Billie Eilish released her music video to "All The Good Girls Go To Hell?" in which the artist parades around a series of flames in a makeshift devil’s costume. And let's not forget Machine Gun Kelly's collaboration with DMX with the song "Demons" where the two rap about channeling the devil’s energy to clap back at their enemies.
Though the critiques that Lil Nas X has received can very well be applied to his contemporaries and predecessors, homophobia is so rooted in our culture that any display combatting that is met with intense criticism.
Most of Lil’ Nas X fans are young kids… the video is hypersexual… sliding down a stripper pole, in a lace front wig, tight underwear, zooming in on his crotch, demonic, etc. Then he’s releasing Satan shoes. Smh. The agenda is real!
— IG: @iamjcherry (@cherryamore_) March 26, 2021
Oftentimes, queer Black people are expected to ignore their intersecting identities of Blackness and queerness. It’s become, almost, an expectation that they have to choose between their identities to appease a world that fails to acknowledge the beauty of being Black and queer. Lil Nas X, since his debut, has been able to show the world that not only are Black queer musicians not a monolith, but you can be both and celebrate yourself in doing so. Taking to Twitter to write a touching letter to his younger self, the musician admits to pushing an agenda – that of people minding their own business and allowing people to simply be themselves.
— nope ???? (@LilNasX) March 26, 2021
Lil Nas X will go down in history as someone who truly embodied what representation means by making so many younger queer people feel seen. The homophobic critics who, so proudly, let other musicians get away with dangerous rhetoric while attacking him for living in his truth will be remembered for fumbling the ball in how they decided to not show up for the LGBTQ+ community. Since the dawn of time, Christianity has served as a scapegoat, especially within the Black church, to shove the inconceivable notion that queer people are flagrant sinners and destined to an eternity of damnation for simply being true to themselves — that's the only "narrative" here that needs to be dismantled.