Call Me For The Controversy

Call Me For The Controversy

On March 26, the long awaited song Montero (Call me by your name) by Lil Nas X was finally released. Along with the song came a music video that would soon make a bigger impact on the world than one would imagine. With the video now racking up an astonishing 88 million views, it also sparked up quite the controversy online.

Lil Nas X has been famously known for coming out with the hit single “Old Town Road” in 2019. This song alone made him grow immensely in the music world, and he quickly became a Grammy award winning artist. With so much pressure to put out an album, Nas finally came out with a sneak peek for what to expect. The music video for Montero (Call me by your name) was met with lots of love and positivity but also with many shaking heads.

The video has its own hints of Biblical symbols and overall has a very obvious aesthetic. In the song itself, it even mentions Biblical names in lines such as “If Eve ain’t in your garden, you know that you can”. Through this song Nas expresses his openness towards the topic of his sexuality. He is comfortable with who he is as a gay man and doesn’t feel the need to hide it. There is a definite controversy among Christians.

Now, I come from a Catholic family and to some degree I can understand, but can’t say I have too much sympathy. Many claim it makes them uncomfortable or that it disrespects their religion. Besides the religion aspect of this music video, people have been bothered by the costume changes, clothing, and actions performed by Nas. People bothered by his makeup, wigs, and his dancing. Many say it’s very inappropriate for children in particular. People worried that this will influence their kids in a negative way.

To this I must say, just shut it off. If I simply do not like something, I stop looking at it. Yet, it seems so many of those against it bring it up constantly by sharing videos or typing an angry rant on Facebook that will be fully read by no one. I do understand when it comes to censoring what your kids see, but it also seems as though the same parents against Montero are the same ones who had no problem with his earlier single, “Old Town Road”.

Now, “Old Town Road” isn’t exactly the most kid friendly song either as it has mentions of adultery and drinking within the song. Nas also never said he intended for his audience to contain so many children. I don’t see it being his fault for these kids being exposed to this, but I see fault in the parents for simply not censoring the things they don’t want their kids to see and to be quite honest out of all the things child can see on apps today such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, I don’t see this music video being their biggest issue.

I also find it frustrating exactly how much anger and hatred people had for Nas simply because of this video. It blew up so quickly and the amount of controversy it brought was insane, especially since he’s not the first person to use this type of aesthetic in their music videos. Billie Eilish is one of today’s biggest artists. Throughout her first album When We All Fall Asleep, it had a series of songs with music videos that had a similar aesthetic.

One of the songs on the album was literally called “All the Good Girls go to Hell”. It also had a music video where at one point Eilish turns into a type of dark angel or demon. She, like Nas, also has a large portion of her audience that’s young children. However, I don’t quite recall the same reaction towards her work. Why was hers more widely accepted? Also, aren’t these some of the people who proudly sing along to “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC?

Another reason I felt that the amount of backlash was absurd was because of there being videos of pastors talking about this during their church services. One video I saw in particular was of Pastor Greg Locke. He speaks of the video and his opinion on it. He then says that he can’t even listen to Nas’ old song “Old Town Road” anymore.

It frustrates me to see this because it just made me think of all the other genuine tragedies going on during this time that would actually make a difference talking about during church. Instead of focusing on the Asian hate going on in this country, racism in general, discussing ways to help the homeless, mass shootings going on recently, and many other things, they focus on spreading hate due to this video that I truly believe made more of a positive impact than they think it did. Now, I know that not every person with a religious background had a reaction like this, so I don’t want it to seem like I think that they all behave this way, but I believe those acting this way should be addressed.

I’ve personally taken a liking for Nas throughout his career. I believe he’s done a lot with his music even before this particular single and was truly becoming an inspiration for many people like him. With this project, Montero, I feel like he opened doors for future artists. Not only does he break gender norms, but he also is very open with his sexuality and makes that clear. I have no doubt that this song spoke out to many people, and I’m sure many people were inspired by his art.

I think it was also very vulnerable for him to share all of this. There’s a lot of pressure for a young, gay, black artist like him. With things like toxic masculinity, homophobia, and racism being obstacles throughout his skyrocketing career, it definitely couldn’t have been easy to open up and share any personal things with his audience.

So in response to Nas’ video, I must say I find the music video nothing but art. Pushing boundaries and challenging the norms in the music industry is not an easy task, and I think the execution was phenomenal. The hard work put in has touched so many and inspired a huge audience around the world to be themselves. And, for that, I would tell Nas congratulations.