On today's episode of vintage trends finding a new home in these trying times, it seems Lil Nas X has singlehandedly revived a craze that was once synonymous with the intense puritanism of the '80s – both 19 and 13 -- the Satanic Panic.
Late last week, Lil Nas X released the music video for his new single “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, which quickly went viral on social media, garnering more than 34 million views in the four days since its YouTube premiere. While containing zero references to any Luca Guadagnino-directed 2017 films featuring a man-peach love scene, the three-minute and nine-second-long music video is jam-packed with several allusions to ancient Greece and biblical stories, including and a tree with a snake wrapped around it, seemingly referencing the garden of Eden and the snake that tempted Eve into eating the forbidden apple. The music video then ends with the artist gracefully dancing down a giant pole into the depths of Hell, in which he treats Satan to a lap dance before stealing his horns and becoming the devil himself.
Like most things that involve stripper poles and devils, no matter how artistic, parents, governors, and the typical conservative media outrage machine responded in a fashion appropriate for both sets of ‘80s, accusing the rapper of creating immoral content for children – despite Lil Nas X explicitly saying on several occasions that he does not make music for kids.
Considering the song was written as an open letter to his 14-year-old self who once “promised to never come out publicly,” according to W Magazine, the song clearly carries strong significance for the artist and as such, Lil Nas X, who is openly gay, has come to its rescue, consistently clapping back at naysayers who condemned his work, telling South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to stop worrying about his song and do her job …
… providing former NBA player Nick Young (a.k.a Swaggy P) with some music suggestions …
… shading noted fashion critic, Candace Owens …
… and even putting “gun girl" Kaitlyn Bennett in her place, while creating 2021's newest power couple – him and her father.
However Lil Nas X, like the true businessman he is, turned the outrage into profit. Following the video's release, the rapper announced that he made a pair of Nike Air Max 97 shoes featuring a real drop of blood, a pentagram, the number 666, and a bible verse, John 3:18, which is about the devil. A collab with art collective MSCHF, the shoes, a limited release with only 666 units, were priced at $1,018 a pop and sold out in less than a minute on Monday, CNN reported of the ordeal. Nike later issued a statement distancing itself from the product. "We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas or MSCHF," the company told the outlet via email. "Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them."
Even with the success of his new product and his witty clap backs, on Monday afternoon, the artist opened up about fielding the intense backlash, describing the negative impact the last several days have had on his mental wellbeing. “i’ll be honest all this backlash is putting an emotional toll on me,” the artist explained. “i try to cover it with humor but it’s getting hard. my anxiety is higher than ever and stream call me by your name on all platforms now!”
So folks, whether you're bumping the artist's new single or are boycotting his work, remember – armed with pole-dance skills akin to JLo's and an arsenal of hilarious comebacks, Grammy-Award winning artist Lil Nas X is not your babysitter (much to the chagrin of parents who don't think they need to be parenting their children's internet content access).