Lil' Nas X

Getting .LIFE Together: Lil’ Nas X Publicly Comes Out

Welcome to “Getting .LIFE Together,” a new weekly column focused on exploring recent sports and culture-related events. Last week, I focus on the events in the Basketball world and how influential the sport is in present-day culture. This week, as Pride Month comes to a close, I talk about Lil Nas X publicly acknowledging his sexuality. In less than 6 months, Lil Nas X went from a Twitter sensation to a #1, Diamond-eligible artist. Staying true to form, a tweet confirms the “Old Town Road” rapper is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Getting .LIFE Together: Lil Nas X’s Sexuality

Lil Nas X currently has the #1 record in the world. It is certified 3x Platinum, and is eligible to receive the first Diamond certification from the RIAA since the Black Eyed Peas‘ “I Gotta Feeling”, and the latest hip hop song to go Diamond since “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I., released in 2013. Over a week after releasing his third EP 7, and right after performing at Glastonbury, Lil Nas X publicly acknowledged being gay for the first time by tweeting a looped video playing under his song “c7osure”. This was rumored for some time, based on old tweets from his previous twitter account, @nasmaraj.

Lil Nas X and Controversy

Lil Nas X – real name Montero Lamar Hill – is an Atlanta-originating musician who released two EPs – NASARATI and October 31st – in 2018 after dropping out of college. Through his growing popularity on Twitter, Lil’ Nas X gained a following and when it was time to release his next single, “Old Town Road,” he turned to the internet for help. Released on December 2, 2018, the song was added to the social networking/viral video app Tik Tok where its opening verse found massive success. Nas X then started to put the song under video clips and funny tweets, “meme”-ing it into popularity. It entered the Billboard charts in March, where it was initially included on the Hot 100, Top Hip Hop/Rap, and Top Country charts, but then removed from the latter as it did not “embrace enough elements of today’s country music,” according to the chart-publishing organization, leading to a huge uproar. This controversy put the rapper on the radars of many of music’s hottest names and biggest publication, and the song went on to be covered or remixed by Cupcakee, Jimmy Fallon, Kidz Bop, and Kyle Exum, among others. It helped land the rapper on the cover of Teen Vogue and in coverage by Vulture and the New York Times, among others.

Old Town Road meets the Yeehaw Agenda

Many country artists came out in support of the song and artist, causing Billboard to publicly state that it would reconsider its decision. Country artist Jimmie Allen says “The song deserves to be on every chart,” among other affirmations from those in the genre. Many also attributed its removal to the erasure of black people and their contributions to country music, and the infatuation of cowboy culture as a whole – described as the Yeehaw Agenda, a term created by Bri Malandro. This led to Lil Nas X and his signature cowboy hat getting a big name to appear on the remix – Billy Ray Cyrus. This version infected all of the mainstream radio and led to Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road” being required knowledge of those in music everywhere. The official movie for this version came out in May (There’s also a Young Thug remix that Lil Nas X teased on his Instagram.)

Rumors Travel Around

While Nas X was adding his name to Music Rolodex, very attentive Twitter followers connected the rapper to his roots as a viral user on the site as a Nicki Minaj fan account, known as @nasmaraj, and after its suspension from the site, @nasmarai. There were also rumors around this user in Twitter circles that he was gay, so while Lil Nas X hadn’t publicly acknowledged his previous Twitter alter ego, the tweets from @nasmarai redirect to his page, pointing that he indeed had that name at some point. Islamophobic tweets began to surface that were allegedly originating from the account, leading to the viral hashtag #LilNasXIsOverParty, but it turns out they appear to be digitally altered and unfounded. Still, the rapper alludes to his past from time to time.

Yesterday’s tweet – and confirmation by reps today – serve as a formal announcement of Lil Nas X being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, even though he says he “made it obvious” with 7‘s cover, which features a rainbow in the background. The closing lyrics of “c7osure” explain why the “Old Town Road” rapper felt the timing was right:

“Ain’t no more actin’, man, that forecast say I should just let me grow/No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go/Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take ahold/This is what I gotta do, can’t be regrettin’ when I’m old.”

This closes one chapter for Lil Nas X and serves as the beginning of a new journey for him as a musician and an openly gay individual. We hope the best for him in the future and hope he enjoyed Pride Month with the tens of millions of non-cisgendered and non-heterosexual individuals around the world.

Other Happenings in .LIFE

Here’s what else is happening in .LIFE:

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