Trailblazer

Lil Nas X came out to eliminate homophobia in rap music

Lil Nas X on The Ellen Show (Photo: YouTube)

This profile is number seven in Queerty’s Out For Good series, recognizing those who came out to make a difference this year. The series runs through National Coming Out Day October 11.

Name: Lil Nas X, 20

Bio: Lil Nas X–birthname Montero Lamar Hill–grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. The son of a gospel singer, music played an important role in his young life. He played trumpet in grade school before finding his true love: rap. Then he began producing short comedy videos via Twitter and Instagram before releasing his first song: the country-rap ballad “Old Town Road.”

The song became a viral sensation in mid-2019 and led to the release of Lil Nas X’s first album 7. By August 2019, he’d become one of the most successful hip-hop artists, having scored eight MTV VMA nominations and taking home Song Of the Year. “Old Town Road” spent 19 weeks on the Billboard Hip-Hop Chart.

Related: From Lil’ Nas X to Lena Waithe, Black gays are having a moment of pure joy. And it’s about time.

Coming Out: Nas also made history in June 2019 by coming out in Pride Tweets. He’d already come out to family earlier that month.

“some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure,” Nas said in the tweet, referring to a song on his album about accepting oneself. To make himself absolutely clear, Nas then discussed his sexuality in a BBC interview as well as the homophobic backlash he received from some fans.

Making a Difference: That X came out at all is a milestone in and of itself: He’s become the only recording star in history to come out while having a number one record on the charts. He dealt with a good deal of homophobic backlash. Yet he says he has no regrets because he came out in part to highlight homophobia within the country music and hip-hop communities.

“I was like, I don’t want to just live my entire life, especially how I got to where I’m at, just not doing what I want to do,” he said of coming out. “I feel like opening the doors for more people. It’s not really accepted in either [the country music or the rap community].”

Nas added:  “I’m not angry or anything…I understand how they want that reaction but I’m just going to joke back with them.”

View this post on Instagram

a fun night #iheartWithUs

A post shared by Lil Nas X (@lilnasx) on