On March 25, rapper and singer-songwriter Lil Nas X released a music video for his latest single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
The video for the catchy song uses extended metaphors and Christian imagery to express Lil Nas X’s struggle to find a place where he could freely express his sexuality in a society that hasn’t been the most welcoming to LGBTQ+ youth.
Lil Nas X quickly came under fire for the explicit content present throughout the video, most prominently the end of the video, which features him pole dancing into Hell and giving a lap dance to Satan. This incited mass accusations of Satanism on Lil Nas X’s behalf, which were fueled further by the release of 666 pairs of customized “Satan shoes” that coincided with the single’s release.
Right-wing conservatives formed one of the most vocal groups that strongly opposed the song.
“I’ll never listen to [“Old Town Road”] again — bunch of devil-worshipping, Wiccan nonsense, pentagram-wearing on your Nike tennis shoes, 666,” social media pastor Greg Locke stated in a live-streamed service on Sunday. “You think I’m gonna stand for that, you’ve lost your mind.”
Fox News has also commented on the music video, condemning the video as Lil Nas X’s “desperate and pathetic” cry for attention.
Lil Nas X isn’t the first artist to use Satanic imagery in his music — other artists include Brendon Urie, NIki Minaj, Motley Crue and KISS — but Lil Nas X is the latest to witness the fury of the right-wing media for doing so.
In a series of Tweets and viral videos, Nas speculated that the significant amount of outrage over the video is largely because of his sexuality.
Ultimately, the pole-dancing into hell and Satanic lap dances aren’t a call for the youth to abandon religion and worship the dark lord. Lil Nas X is simply using these concepts to illustrate what is at the heart of “Montero”: an inability to love his partner in public.
The entire song is Nas commenting on the difficulty of finding a partner who wants to openly love him, a partner who wants to be seen in public with him without fear of persecution.
Christians who think the song is a personal attack on their religion completely miss the point.
This song is for the LGBT+ youth of America who are forced to closet themselves in order to receive emotional and financial support from their families. It is for the gay kids who have to live a double life in order to maintain relationships with their parents and their romantic partners.
“Montero” is about facing persecution from religion for simply loving another human being. If it is an attack on “Christian” values, it is a well-needed confrontation with the church about accepting gay marriage and their LGBT+ sons and daughters.