Lil Nas X recently released his hit single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” quickly claiming the number one spot on the Billboard’s Hot 100 list.
“Montero”’s bold music video catches the audience’s attention with its sexual themes as well as Satanic depictions, boasting over 105 million views on YouTube (as of writing this article). Lil Nas’ video included scenes of him riding a stripper pole down to Hell, giving Satan a lap dance while wearing only thigh-high leather boots and underwear, and murdering Satan so Lil Nas can take Satan’s horns for himself.
While his target audience ate up the bold images presented, several groups met Lil Nas’ video with disapproval. On a segment with Laura Ingram on FOX News, the chyron read “Rapper embraces Satan just in time for Holy Week”. Several conservatives said that Lil Nas X is corrupting kids with this type of music.
Artist or influencer?
Lil Nas releasing this video has reopened a conversation: Are musicians and celebrities responsible for molding the minds of the nation’s youth?
It’s almost like we all heard the same types of outrage last year when Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion released their song “WAP”. This is another instance of an artist of color coming under heavy scrutiny for releasing a song with sexual themes. Why is it that a woman or a gay man can’t perform a song talking about sexual pleasure without coming under fire from people saying that they’re corrupting children? Billie Eilish’s hit song “All Good Girls Go To Hell” features Eilish with black angel wings, which is usually associated with the fallen angel, Lucifer, but has received none of the scrutiny that “WAP” or “Montero” has. There’s this colossal double standard in the music industry when it comes to what’s flagged as appropriate and what’s not.
A generation trend
Some conservatives love saying that these types of performers are going to “ruin society” or “corrupt the next generation”. In actuality, this is a theme in pop culture that’d been washed, rinsed, and repeated. Today’s Lil Nas X and Cardi B are equivalent to the previous generation’s Madonna and Elvis. Both stood out during their debuts as racey, over sexual corruptors. However, they’re known today as some of the founders of modern music. Teenage girls across the country weren’t jumping at the opportunity to get pregnant after Madonna released “Papa Don’t Preach”. Today’s youth isn’t converting to Satanism simply because of “Montero”, and it’s silly to say that’s what Lil Nas is attempting with this song.
I personally am glad these songs exist and are so successful. Women should be able to rave about their intimate experiences just as much as men can. As a gay kid growing up, I never heard a song by a gay man become chart-topping hit, let alone a song about gay romance. It’s time for proper representation in pop-culture.