The controversy over Lil Nas X’s music video ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ has been boiling since its release, as the rapper is seen giving Satan a lap dance. In the video, the “Old Town Road” singer explores the complex convergence between religion and sexuality in a steamy interaction with a figure appearing as Satan.
In the first few shots, the artist is being seduced by a snake in the Garden of Eden, referencing the Bible in multiple segments. He is later put on a trial, centered and attacked, before he mounts to heaven. His trip is cut short however, as halfway through, he grips on a stripper’s pole making his way down to hell. The music video currently has over 35 million views on YouTube since being uploaded on Friday.
Critics continuously slammed the rapper online stating that such content is inappropriate for children. The 21-year old fought back the criticism saying that the music he produces is not intended for kids.
“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.”
He jokingly trolled critics posting a tweet saying, “Showed my 3 month old niece the call me by your name video and she said ‘uncle that was quite the stupendous visual, why in heavens would any individual be enraged over such a sensational showpiece’ I’m gonna go cry yall.”
A few days after the release, as the backlash constantly increased, Lil Nas X took to Twitter to express his feelings. Earlier today he mentioned the anxiety he’s been struggling with following all the negativity stemming from people’s hateful comments.
i’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me. i try to cover it with humor but it’s getting hard. my anxiety is higher than ever and stream call me by your name on all platforms now!
— ✟ (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
The Meaning Behind ‘Montero’
Fans stepped forward to support the artist saying that he wrote the song as a reflection of his teenage years in which he had conflicted feelings. The song and video supposedly represent how society and religion, particularly Christianity, view homosexuality especially among young men after they come out. When Lil Nas X is put on a trial in the music video, fans perceive this as a moment of judgment before sent to hell.
At the end of pride Month, in June of 2019, the singer came out by referencing his song “C7osure” as a coming-out song.
At the time he wrote on Twitter, “Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more.”
“Satan Shoes” Release
Following the release of his spicy music video, Lil Nas X announced a collaboration with Brooklyn-based company, MSCHF. Their cooperation resulted in the formation of the “Satan Shoe” which features a drop of real human blood at the sole, and a reference to Luke 10:18, a bible verse about Satan’s fall from heaven. The two created 666 Satan Shoes made from Nike Air Max 97s which were sold in under a minute! As well as real human blood, the black and red sneakers feature a bronze pentagram and an inverted cross.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 29, 2021
In a statement emailed to CNN, Nike stated that it did not participate in the making of the sneakers. “We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas or MSCHF,” the company said. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
Priced at $1,018 a pair, MSCHF said that each shoe’s air bubble sole contains 60 cubic centimeters (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and “one drop” of human blood, according to the company. A spokesperson of MSCHF emphasized that the blood was given by members of the team, “We love to sacrifice for our art.”
Nike took a formal position by filing a lawsuit against MSCHF over the release of the “Satan Shoes.”
BREAKING REPORT: Nike has filed a lawsuit against MSCHF over Lil Nas X “Satan Shoes” product release. pic.twitter.com/15PUjLfP36
— The Patriots Gazette (@ThePatsGazette) March 29, 2021
Politicians Taking A Stance
Multiple conservative politicians stepped forward expressing their opinion on the singer’s music video.
As the father of young children, seeing celebrities like @LilNasX openly glorifying satan in content aimed at our kids scares the hell out of me.
Our culture is sick.
— Rep. Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) March 29, 2021
ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job! https://t.co/qaor6W0B9C
— ✟ (@LilNasX) March 28, 2021
Even though Lil Nas X initially responded, he later tweeted on a more serious note explaining that he didn’t care of his critics’ opinion as he struggled as a teenager, referring to homosexuality.
i spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.
— ✟ (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
Support Following The Controversy
Many took to Twitter to openly support the rapper emphasizing how the issue is not when an artist uploads a controversial music video, but the fact that so many other significant issues in society are being ignored.
That @LilNasX video is great. This chorus of sanctimonious conservative voices have cried out with pearl clutching bullshit since Elvis shook his hips. Rock&Roll is creating what you want & being proud of it. Its not the responsibility of the artist to protect you from their art.
— Andy Biersack (@andyblack) March 29, 2021
If they don’t like your video they could just ignore it like they do with homelessness, childhood poverty, food insecurity, underfunded public schools, I could really go on but I’ll stop here.
— digital tamale (@swilse_) March 29, 2021
If @LilNasX’s music video is the reason your kid is fucked up… you’re a bad parent
— Justin Jackson (@J_ManPrime21) March 29, 2021
Besides the backlash, ‘Montero’ has ranked in the top US & Global Spotify streaming charts since its release.