Lent 2021, Day 35: You may just have a problem with this post.

Cover art from “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” [Image Source]

This is going to be unpopular with a lot of my fellow Christians, but I think ya’ll need to back off Lil’ Nas X. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s okay, let me explain.

On Friday, “The Old Town Road” rapper released a new video for his song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” which has him being seduced in a Garden of Eden and then going down to hell… sliding down a stripper’s pole. He’s dressed provocatively, raps about drinking and using cocaine, and towards the end, gives Satan a lapdance. Yeah, you read that right. The video is below, and I’ve told you what’s going on, so you’ve been given a heads-up (Obs NSFW, this isn’t a radio edit).

So now, of course, there’s an immediate backlash, and it’s looking to be far bigger than Cardi B’s/ Megan Thee Stallion’s one for “WAP.” From Billboard:

One critic tweeted, “Lil Nas X is praised for dancing on satan. Kanye West is bashed for giving his life to Christ. Welcome to 2021.”

Another shared a video of the artist performing his megahit “Old Town Road” in front of an audience of children and wrote of his new video: “The system is targeting kids. Lil Nas X’s fanbase is mostly children. They did the same thing with Miley Cyrus after Hannah Montana.”

Lil Nas X cleared things up for the second critic, responding: “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 catering to your children. that is your job.”

As the criticisms started rolling in Friday, the artist — born Montero Lamar Hill — tweeted at his critics to address the heat he was receiving. “there is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop,” he pointed out to one person. “me sliding down a cgi pole isn’t what’s destroying society.”

“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,'” he wrote sarcastically at one point. “i’m gonna go cry yall.”

But he wasn’t done venting. “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the s–t y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay,” he tweeted March 27. So i hope you are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”

Lil Nas X in the “Montero” music video.

So lots of us Christians are big mad. Dude was all up on CGI Lucifer, afterall. But… I’m not mad at X. I feel sadness. He’s 21, and wrote that he spent the prior decade of his life hating himself. He was told he was going to Hell repeatedly, and now he’s put out a video in which he does just that. Are you really surprised?

I think the art design of “Montero” is cool. I would never release or be part of a video like it. I think the whole Nike blood shoe is weird. I kind of feel like many able-bodied people fetishize blood because it’s just a symbol to them and maybe they’d rethink it if they had to deal with vials of it being taken from them on the regular. The song itself is pretty catchy.

As a parent, I agree with him. Z loved “Old Town Road,” but then she liked Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next.” They’re pop songs, and fun, and danceable. A lot of their songs aren’t appropriate for kids. It’s my job to monitor what my kid hears and watches. Battling music with adult content didn’t work so well for Tipper Gore in the 80s and 90s, and it would be even worse if tried today.

As an American, I cannot fathom how people really think a three minute music video could destroy society. Genocide, slavery, nor the Holocaust took down Western Civilization, but a young, queer Black man and online streaming, that’s it, it’s a wrap. *Eyeroll*

As a Christian, I cannot understand why someone like Robert Aaron Long, also 21, who is charged with murdering 8 people because of what he described as a “sexual addiction” can be shown more grace than X. X isn’t the Antichrist- he’s a young guy who spent most of his life grappling with himself who was hurt by people who told him his very existence was a sin. That’s an extremely heavy weight to bear, and I will not pretend to know how that feels. If I could, I’d give him a hug. He’s working out a lot of anger through his music. So, maybe, fellow Christians, close your Twitter app and end the 15 Minutes of Hate. It’s Holy Week; let’s focus on the Cross ahead.

  • Read about the Satanic Panic of the 1970s and beyond at Vox here.
  • Watch this episode of Retro Report, “Dungeons & Dragons: Satanic Panic” here.
  • Read “The Great Rap Censorship Scare of 1990” at Medium here.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

March 30, 2021 at 8:02 am

I felt sad for him too. Thank you for providing a history of where the video came from. I had only known about the weird sneaker stunt but now that I understand how broken he really is, I’m less shocked and more heartbroken over what happened to him and other young stars and how they are still robbed of their childhood then ostracized once they no longer fit the mold. I would give him a hug too. 💔

March 30, 2021 at 9:42 am
– In reply to: Catherine

You’re welcome. I tell you, I’d never want to be famous, ever. Complete strangers feel totally justified to call people everything but their names (no pun intended).

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