Lil Nas X’s MONTERO
Like other country, pop, and queer-musician aficionados right now, I’m both enthralled and intrigued by Lil Nas X’s recently released music video, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name). The video features some pretty nonpareil visuals, including biblical imagery, a passage from Plato’s Symposium, and an eventual sexual dance performed by Nas to the devil himself. But these audacious choices aren’t meant to be taken at surface level. Nas liked social media comments and Tweets signaling that the video was meant to be a reclamation of his own sexual orientation; that is, a message towards the homophobic Christians who had previously told him that he would be going to hell for his sexuality, that he didn’t mind journeying way down under if hell was the only place he could be gay.
All unorthodox music videos evoke controversy, and MONTERO is no exception. Criticisms have most frequently been voiced by Christians, homophobes, conservatives, and even parents of children who, under the guise of Nas’s previous success with country-superhit Old Town Road, mistakenly believed him to be a children’s performer.
Personally, I think the music video is absolutely genius. Nas’s ability to juxtapose classical texts with present art forms is remarkable. But, what truly makes me admire it so highly is its sheer audacity. Nas’s choice to essentially reply to people that had told him, “Go to Hell!” with an, “Alright!” will prove timeless. Nas continues to prove his ability to destroy barriers and embrace the lines between artistic boundaries, and I’m thankful to be watching it all unfold.