Rapper Lil Nas X raised the controversy of the week on social media with his new music video "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)." The ambitious video follows versions of Lil Nas X through biblically-inspired scenes, ending in a rendition of Hell where he gives the devil himself a lap dance. The video was obviously meant to shock and prompt conversations, and so far, it has done just that.
The "MONTERO" music video is a CGI-heavy odyssey from the Garden of Eden to Heaven and back again, populated mostly by reflections of Lil Nas X himself. Ignoring the symbolic interpretations of the video, most viewers have been preoccupied with the last third of it, where Lil Nas X slides down a long pole into Hell and meets the devil on a throne. He then dances seductively through the last verse and chorus of his song before snapping the devil's neck, taking his horns for himself, and sprouting black angel's wings.
Naturally, this kind of evocative imagery has sparked some controversy around the young rapper, but that's no accident. At the same time, fans are praising the video for pushing the conversation on LGBTQ+ expression forward. In either case, it is all the more surprising to see this video from the young rapper who became famous for "Old Town Road."
While fans and critics react publicly to the video, Lil Nas X has been reacting publicly to those reactions as well. The rapper is famously straightforward on social media, and he has weighed in on the controversy there several times since the video came out on Friday. Scroll down for a look at the public conversation so far.
Since ppl are being intentionally dense about the message of the music video🙃, let’s address it. The video is a metaphor for his journey with accepting his sexuality. He uses the Christian creation story as an analogy.— Will👁🅰️Ⓜ️ (@atb__william) March 26, 2021
Many fans have praised "Montero" for opening doors for the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth to come out confidently. They believe this kind of high-profile media representation is important for confused kids. Lil Nas X himself seems to agree.prevnext
there was no system involved. i made the decision to create the music video. i am an adult. i am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. that is your job. https://t.co/SzjjYe2tf4— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
On the other hand, some critics argued that Lil Nas X's video would only confuse children, who make up a large proportion of his audience. His response was that children are not the target audience of this video.prevnext
there is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop. me sliding down a cgi pole isn’t what’s destroying society. https://t.co/H21SMVnfNQ— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 26, 2021
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
Taking the biblical motif even further, some critics saw the "Montero" video as a sign of civilization's downfall altogether. Lil Nas X responded with some examples of more pressing issues facing the world today.prevnext
I can truly say that Lil nas x put his whole soul into Montero/ CMBYN and it shows I’m low key speechless pic.twitter.com/GJGXDEhwbt— 🔱_kingxay🔱 (@_kingxay) March 26, 2021
Lil Nas X came through with Montero 👏😭 pic.twitter.com/6GSp4zIRPR— Arthur Shahverdyan (Commission OPEN) (@ArthShahverdyan) March 26, 2021
Many fans thought that "Montero" was a prime example of an artist giving their all and leaving nothing in the tank with a performance. They praised the ambitious heights of the video.prevnext
your dad watching the satan scene pic.twitter.com/QBF167Ungs— courtney (@arixkth) March 26, 2021
On Friday, Lil Nas X posted a text conversation with his father, where he praised the "Montero" video. However they felt about the video personally, many fans were put off by the idea of the artist's dad sitting through it.prevnext
Enjoying the Controversy
Watching these mad ass Christians react to "Montero" and Satan shoes pic.twitter.com/XRXoKzDGlp— Risa Lima ⚔️ (@zamundan) March 28, 2021
Understanding that the controversy of the video was intentional, many fans tweeted their delight at seeing the backlash play out. They assumed that Lil Nas X had planned for it.prevnext
Finally, the "Montero" music video has inspired a new crop of fan-art for Lil Nas X, drawing on the same biblical imagery that has inspired artists for generations.prev