Lil Nas X’s song MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) dropped on March 25, 2021, and in its wake brought a flurry of controversy, good and bad. This is due to the content of the music video and the fact that Lil Nas X had teased the song’s release for a while specifically on the platform Tiktok. The video strayed from Lil Nas X’s infamous Old Town Road that was flashy but could be considered very kid-friendly. However, CMBYN depicted Lil Nas’ take on the mythology of the fall of man. It showed him playing many roles from Adam and the snake, in glamorous different outfits. Lil Nas X depicted himself pole dancing his way to hell where he gave the devil a lap dance before taking his crown. This caused an extreme amount of backlash from many religious folks.
Many criticized the music video for its sexual nature and the fact that many kids could be exposed to the video. A more extreme critic was the claim by religious figureheads that it was not only inherently satanic but also the gay agenda as well and it would turn kids gay. In fact, Katlin Bennett a well-known conservative started a Twitter fight with Lil Nas X, in which she attacked him for the video and made remarks which could be perceived to have racist undertones and definite homophobic rhetoric. Others also attacked him on Twitter accusing Lil Nas X of purposely putting out his video knowing that he had kids as his audience. However Lil Nas X responded in a Tweet , he stated that there was no ulterior motive and that he was not going to raise other people’s children stating that was the job of parents. Lil Nas X is not wrong, and in fact, if we take a step back from the situation we can see how the backlash perfectly exemplifies a bigger problem.
First of all, Lil Nas X’s video is not inherently “out there” when it comes to sexuality. There are dozens of rap videos or pop music videos that depict nudity and sex in much more graphic detail. So why is it just Lil Nas X’s video which garnered such backlash? Well, one of the biggest proponents of this could be the fact that he is a queer individual who displayed his sexuality and owns it. What is wrong with that? If this were a video where Lil Nas X was receiving a lap dance from a woman there wouldn’t be a tenth of the backlash. One of my issues with this backlash is the inherent victimhood of many Christians on this subject. As a Christian, this has made me realize the issues in the community. For one, anything which deviates from their beliefs is Satan’s words and this feeds into the idea that Christianity is always “under attack”. These people are angry that others support Lil Nas X, however, they also believe that the world should conform to their beliefs. It comes off as ironic as they ask for others for respect but they won’t respect others.
A bigger problem in all this is how many religious folks won’t acknowledge how much harm they do to LGBTQ+ individuals. They perpetuate their victimhood while hurting others. In fact, Lil Nas X even stated in a Tweet he was glad they were angry and that he hoped it would show them how hateful he used to be towards himself because of the teachings against homosexuality. This was powerful to me in that this has been a constant problem one which I have dealt with too. It’s time we stop excusing hate and bullying as someone’s beliefs and start holding people accountable for the harm they cause.