Lil Nas X loves introducing new characters in his music videos and today we’re blessed with “Stripper Nas”. Last night he dropped his new track, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, along with its accompanying music video — which is sinfully delicious. The track’s title is a combination of Lil Nas’ birth name (Montero Lamar Hill) and the Oscar-winning film, Call Me By Your Name, which follows Timothée Chalamet’s 17-year-old character falling in love with an older man. Some people might find that movie problematic but Lil Nas’ queer-celebrating, fantasy genre music video is unapologetically fun. 


Nas starts out in “Montero” (AKA, the Garden of Eden), where he’s tempted by a snake in the form of an alien man. After they kiss, Nas is persecuted, with society looking down on him as he’s stoned to death. His soul appears to be rise to heaven before a stripper pole appears and he starts pole dancing down to hell, in Calvin Klein boxer briefs and thigh-high stripper heels.


And it gets better. After sashaying through the gates of hell, he gives the devil a lap dance — a pretty skilled one in my opinion. That’s before he kills the devil, takes his horn-crown and becomes the fabulous sinner some homophobic people think he is. 

Moments after the release, Nas posted a letter to his 14-year-old self:

"I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer. I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be 'that' type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the f-ck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future.”


Wow. There’s so much to unpack there and for me the conversation starts at “promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person”. He wasn’t really promising that to himself, as much as he was trying to promise that to society. Many gay men try to include a caveat with their coming out to assure people they’re not “GAY gay”. They aren’t like “those other gays” who do the flamboyant stuff, so you won’t have to worry about that with them. That’s internalized homophobia and it’s buying into society’s oppression of queer people. I’ve had conversations with coworkers who’ve told me they’re okay with gay people but why do they have to throw it in people’s faces. But kissing your same-sex partner in public isn’t throwing it in people’s faces. If you complain about “the agenda” when gay people are gay in public, on TV, or god forbid, in your Cheerios commercial, then you’re homophobic. The agenda is to be able to exist in the open. 

Last year, when Lil Nas X marked one year since coming out I wrote about his relationship with his parents, as he publicly acknowledges his family knows he’s gay but it’s not something that’s ever discussed or acknowledged. However, today Nas posted a text he received from his father after he watched the new music video. Not only did he manage to make it through the whole video, lap dancing on the devil et all, but his father says he’s proud of him for living life on his own terms. *Cue my happy tears* 


Undoubtably, “Montero (Call Me By You Name)” will fan the flames of those who think he’s being extra flamboyant as a marketing gimmick and people who say he’s alienating fans as a result of being “so gay” (again, being “that type of gay person”). Firstly, male artists don’t really benefit from being openly gay. You could argue some benefit from being sexuality fluid while maintaining a masculine persona, but the gay community has a sketchy history of supporting unapologetically queer male artists. Secondly, if being yourself alienates anyone, those people were never on your team to begin with. And that’s just advice for all of us.