“In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,” the rapper says in the video’s intro, referring to his sexuality as a child. “We lock them away. We tell them, ‘No.’ We banish them. But here, we don’t.” The unabashedly queer singer then thrusts us into the fantasy world of Montero — named after him (Montero Lamar Hill) — where he is free to be himself and act upon his desires.
In the video, Lil Nas X is seen in many different mythical worlds inspired by history, including a full-on make-out sesh with an alien version of himself, a Marie Antoinette-inspired stoning, and a fiery lapdance with the devil before he gets his violent due. After the video premiered late Thursday night, the 21-year-old rapper posted an open letter to his younger self, whom he addressed by his real name.
“Dear 14-year-old Montero, I wrote a song with our name in it,” he wrote. “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 poeple 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**k out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be. Sending you love from the future. - LNX.”
Although Lil Nas X might have expected some backlash from the video, he overwhelmingly received praise for being his true authentic self and paving the way for other young queer artists.
“Lil Nas X pole dancing to hell is one of the most iconic things I've ever seen,” one user wrote, while another commented: “Lil Nas X ATE UP in the #CallMeByYourName music video. This is what happens when we support Black gay artists yall.”
“Congrats to Lil Nas X on giving Tucker Carlson and conservative media their next fake culture war,” a third user tweeted in anticipation of backlash from the unapologetically provocative music video.
Scroll through below to see more fabulous reactions to Lil Nas X’s new video.