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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

From his first hit, “Old Town Road”, to the controversial music video, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, Lil Nas X is a one-of-a-kind artist. Although, would he be where he’s at now if it wasn’t for his smart marketing?

The Shock Factor

Artists have done the exact marketing scheme that Lil Nas X is doing all throughout time; it’s called the shock factor“Controversial and shocking stunts get celebrities instant media coverage and attention,” was said by one head of press. It’s not just the “MONTERO” singer who has taken advantage of this; Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson have used this shock factor at some point in their career. Most of the artists or celebrities, who have used this shock factor, are household names today. For example, Brittany Spears and Madonna’s make-out sesh on the VMA stage only gave them more press. Sadly, in 2007, media attention and mental health issues led Spears to a mental breakdown where she shaved her head bald. Whether it is a shocking event or the cause of a health issue, people take major offense to celebrities and what they do.

Why do people get offended?

Throughout time, fans and haters feel like a shock performance, event, video, or song targets them or something they love. People can feel as though their religion, gender, sexuality, or anything else is targeted through this factor. For example, in Lil Nas X video for “MONTERO”, he plays on the idea of Heaven and Hell. Some believe this is a blatant offense to Christianity, while others believe it is simply a creative music video. After the controversy of the music video, he saw how much press he got. And for a becoming artist, any press is good press. He then released ‘satin’ shoes (keeping with the theme of that music video) and later faked being ‘pregnant’ with his new album. He created an insane amount of hype around this album. It obviously worked all along as the new album, Montero, was the singer’s highest reviewed project.  His representation for the LGBTQ+ community also drove up interest. Since coming out in 2019, the artist openly produces songs dealing with his love life and struggles. “THATS WHAT I WANT” off of his new album, Montero, contains some relatable, heartfelt lyrics: “These days, I’m way too lonely. I’m missin’ out, I know…I want, someonе to love me I need, someonе who needs me…”. Through lyrics and music videos, he openly shows what love looks like for a gay man, which is still “shocking and out of the ordinary” for the general public. However, there is a lot to be said about the singer shamelessly displaying who he is, and pushing others to do the same.

The Real Problem

The real problem does not have to do with the singer or celebrity themselves. The issue is that when people are offended, they cannot leave something alone. When a disagreement occurs, others feel the need to post a comment about it or view a performance just so they can criticize it. What they do not know is that with every dislike, hate comment, or view, it only gives an artist they do not like more fuel. The moral of the story is that if you do not agree with something that someone does, do not be obsessed with them. You should utilize your voice and opinion, but constantly giving something you hate attention is only going to produce more works like it. Freedom of expression cannot help but offend others. With the way entertainment is, it does not look like the shock factor will be going away anytime soon.

Caroline Surface

Coastal Carolina '25

Caroline is a junior Interactive Journalism Communication major at Coastal Carolina University. She is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and has two cats and one dog. She was on the yearbook team all throughout high school, which is where she found her passion of telling stories through writing.