Lil Nas X Becomes First Openly Gay Black Man To Make Forbes' Highest-Paid Country Acts List
"Can't nobody tell him nothin.'"
Lil Nas X has broken multiple records since his hit song "Old Town Road" became a worldwide phenomenon in March. The song has spent 19 weeks on the Billboard charts thanks to its popularity on the new social media app Tik Tok.
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The song has now been streamed nearly two billion times and has launched Lil Nas X onto Forbes' list of Highest-Paid Country Acts in 2019. He is now the first openly gay man and the first person of color to make it onto the list, reaching the 18th spot.
According to Forbes, Lil Nas X made $14 million in pre-tax income thanks to streams, concerts and a new deal with Columbia Records.
“It was on viral charts in countries where no country song has ever positioned itself. Everything from Southeast Asian markets to eastern European markets. I mean, I’m talking about places that you don’t necessarily associate with cowboy hats and boots," Diego Farias told Forbes.
Farias is the co-founder of music streaming service Amuse which was the first site to stream "Old Town Road."
The list is traditionally dominated by white men, but this year there was somewhat of an influx of diversity, with six women making it into the top 20. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney and Eric Church topped the list with each artist making over $30 million.
Forbes, who has published the list for seven years, decides who makes the cut based on income earned between June 1, 2018, through June 1, 2019.
The 20-year-old released a remix of the hit song with Billy Ray Cyrus that catapulted the song into astronomical levels of popularity. The remix has since been nominated for multiple Grammys.
Lil Nas X's position on the list is notable because of the numerous attempts to keep him off of the Country Music charts.
Back in March, Billboard told Rolling Stone that the song "does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts" before removing the song from its list.
"When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost its musical composition," Billboard's statement read. "While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
The evolution of country-rap sparked a huge debate in the music world about race and the historical divide between what is traditionally called country music and what isn't.
Regardless, folks "can't nobody tell him nothin'" as Lil Nas X continues to break barriers and set records while doing so.