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6 Times Lil Nas X Called Out Homophobia In Music Industry & Black Community

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Lil Nas X

Rapper Lil Nas X has taken both the world and the rap industry by storm, and he's only in the beginning stages of his career.

He's spoken openly about his struggles with being a Black gay artist in the music industry, especially when much of the industry is tainted with homophobia and negative attitudes toward gay people.

Through his music and unapologetic attitude, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, has challenged societal norms in the United States and made space for other queer Black people to feel accepted.

Here are 6 times Lil Nas X has called out homophobia in the rap music industry.

1. Lil Nas X called out the BET Awards and homophobia in the Black community.

When the BET Awards announced their nominations last week, Lil Nas X was disappointed to have been snubbed, according to Variety.

“Thank you BET awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. Black excellence!” the "Industry Baby" rapper tweeted.

RELATED: Why Lil Nas X Is Just The Beginning Of The Black Queer Rebellion — And We're Ready For It

When people responded to his tweet, telling him that his music doesn't qualify as hip-hop, and therefore wouldn't be nominated, Lil Nas X fired back that BET also has a pop category.

“This not over no bet award, this is about the bigger problem of homophobia in the Black community, y’all can sit and pretend all u want but imma risk it all for us,” he later tweeted.

When fans pointed out that both Tyler, The Creator, and Frank Ocean, openly queer artists themselves, had been nominated for BET Awards, Lil Nas X hit back that "queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things."

He seemingly referenced his own experience of eliciting controversy and being subjected to homophobic comments online for participating in “feminine things,” which includes wearing dresses on red carpets and having male dancers in his videos.

2. Not many Black male artists want to work with Lil Nas X.

When Lil Nas X unveiled the tracklist for his debut album 'Montero,' many fans hit back at the rapper for the lack of Black male collaborations on the album.

After facing criticism for only collaborating with women and white men in his short career, Lil Nas X hit back with a heartbreaking response, tweeting: "Maybe a lot of [Black male rappers] just don’t wanna work with me."

In a separate tweet after the album was released, Lil Nas X revealed that rapper Ski Mask did want to be involved with the album’s creation, but he believes there’s a reason why most Black male rappers in the industry haven’t worked with him.

"Ski Mask was almost on ‘Scoop’ [feat. Doja Cat] but we had to turn it in before he could finish,” he wrote. “Other than that, a lot of them just don’t [f--- with me] tbh.”

3. He's had to fear for his safety after talking about homophobia in rap.

In an interview with Variety, Lil Nas X opened up about the scary reactions he sometimes gets because of how authentic he is about his sexuality.

"The honest truth is, I don’t want to speak on a lot of the homophobia within rap because I feel like this is a very dangerous playing field,” he said. "It's for my own safety rather than anything else."

RELATED: Kidz Bop Covered Lil Nas X’s 'Montero' & Censored Out All References To Queerness

When asked if backlash has made him feel unsafe, he responded "absolutely," adding that after he dropped the 'Montero' music video, which featured him giving Satan a lap dance, there was “literally someone who chased my car a few days after that video came out, yelling, ‘F---- you!’ or something. And that’s when I actually started getting security.”

4. Lil Nas X called out the double standard between straight & queer rappers.

On Twitter, political analyst Boyce D. Watkins wrote an outlandish claim that Lil Nas X's music and videos were "causing young men to die from AIDS."

Lil Nas X, rightfully so, took issue with the tweet and tweeted back: "y’all be silent as hell when n----- dedicate their entire music [catalog] to rapping about sleeping with multiple women, but when i do anything remotely sexual i’m ‘being sexually irresponsible’ & ‘causing more men to die from aids’ … y’all hate gay ppl and don’t hide it.”

The rapper would go on to dedicate his 2021 VMAs performance to the fight for HIV/AIDS, with Mardrequs Harris of the Southern AIDS Coalition, who was onstage with Lil Nas X at the VMAs, having sported a jacket with the number 433,816 in red. That represents “the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South” as of 2015.

5. When Boosie Badazz aimed homophobic comments at him, Lil Nas X said 'I don't really care.'

In July 2021, Boosie defended the homophobic comments rapper DaBaby made at Rolling Loud Miami, while also calling out Lil Nas X, calling him "the most disrespectful motherf---er in the world"

After Lil Nas X joked on social media that he and Jack Harlow would perform their hit song “Industry Baby” in their birthday suits (which means completely nude) at the VMAs for charity, Boosie responded, “If I’m at the awards and he go up there naked, I’ma drag his a–- offstage and beat his a-–”.

While doing an interview on "The Breakfast Club," Lil Nas X addressed Boosie's homophobic comments, saying that it doesn't bother him as much as people think it does.

"I was listening to Boosie in the club the other day. I don’t really care. Honestly, I wish they didn’t say it, I guess,” he said.

“But I like the music, I’m gonna listen to the music. If somebody got beef with me, that doesn’t mean I got beef with them.”

Despite listening to Boosie's music, Lil Nas X clarified that he would never work with him, saying, "I’m into forgiving people, but I’m just genuinely not interested in making a song with him." 

6. He felt it was his 'duty' to come out during the success of 'Old Town Road.'

In a June 2019 interview with XXL, Lil Nas X reflected on coming out at the height of his song's success.

"I don’t think I would have ever came out,” he said. “I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty. Especially if I wanted to move forward. And what I was doing, because authenticity is very real, and I feel like people can see right through that. And that’s a part of me.”

He also opened up about feeling excluded in the hip-hop community because he's gay — that he doesn't feel "as respected in hip-hop or many music places in general".

“But these are communities that I am a part of, whether people would like it or not," he said.

"This is something that I wanted to do because not that my entire album is rap, but there are rap tracks on my album. I am a rapper. I am a pop star. I am a gay artist. But it’s like, I belong in these places, you know?”

RELATED: Kid Cudi Vows To Stand With Lil Nas X As He Pushes His 'Gay Agenda'

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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