Singer sparks controversy over new song


Photo from public Twitter

Musician Lil Nas X’s public Twitter profile.

Pauline Alterio, Social Media and Website Manager

On March 26, pop sensation Lil Nas X released his newest song, Montero (Call Me By Your Name). In the days following, the singer has risen to the tops of global music charts— but not without controversy.

The recent melody, though an anthem dedicated to promoting gay love and commitment, has not drawn ire through its lyrics, but rather its video. The video includes Lil Nas X (whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill) sliding down a pole to hell and dancing with Satan, a move dozens of high-profile conservative commentators call “desperate and pathetic.”

Such comments were not to outdo the singer, and staying true to Nas’ character, the man posted dozens of memes, photos, and clapbacks at his critics on social media. 

In a March 26 Instagram post, the rapper discussed the song’s personal significance— a means to “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 […] out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.”

The singer’s post was one of the more heartfelt responses, as numerous others consisted of defensive statements with humor and sarcasm. 

When South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem criticized the announcement of an exclusive line of “Satan shoes,” (a black sneaker with a crimson sole containing ink and one drop of human blood, designed by Lil Nas X and custom shoe-maker MSCHF) the rapper clapped back with his own statement, saying, “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!” 

Nas’ response elicited Noem’s own, who tweeted a quote from the Bible. In typical fashion, Nas used his sense of sarcastic humor, taking an explicit line from Montero and formatting it to appear as a Bible verse.

Elsewhere, Call Me By Your Name has gained even more recognition. On Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, one commentator claimed Lil Nas X’s new song was “dropped intentionally on the Eve of Holy Week.” 

In a March 29 tweet, Nas delighted in the right-wing outrage, exclaiming his excitement to be on Fox News, and standing by his previous statements.      

Known conservative commentator Candance Owens even made an appearance on the matter, again criticizing the so-called “Satan shoes.” 

As a response, Nas said, “You know you did something right when she [Owens] talks about it.”

Not all the controversy around Call Me By Your Name remained negative, though. Millions of users took to social media to proclaim their support for Lil Nas X, as evidenced by the music video’s whopping 126 million views on YouTube.

Some fans expressed their gratitude for the singer’s music and words, with one explaining, “I’ve been literally considering giving up on music for [t]he last couple of weeks & now I read this & all I wanna do is keep going. So yeah.. thank you for these kind words. Ily [I love you].” 

Another claimed they “Agreed [with Nas’ music and message]. If you let someone influence your life/decisions then at the end of your life, whose life did you lead? Yours? Or theirs? Do you, nevermind everyone else.”

Though the Montero controversy has since lost its flame, the song continues to serve as a reminder of the stark partisan lines rendering America divided. Millions of users across numerous social media platforms butted heads to discuss the contents of Nas’ video, many times containing religious beliefs, or, even, downright homophobia and sexism.