Lil Nas X's satanic music video 'liberating' for Black gay men

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 18:30 GMT

2019 American Music Awards - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 24, 2019 - Lil Nas X. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

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Rapper hailed for 'liberating' video reclaiming 'Satanic' trope aimed at many LGBT+ people

By Rachel Savage

LONDON, March 30 (Openly) - Lil Nas X may have angered Nike by selling "Satan Shoes" to promote his latest song, but many gay Black people see the video where the rapper gives the devil a lap dance as empowering.

Conservatives have condemned the video for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" - where Lil Nas X puts on devil horns in hell - but the Grammy-winning rapper said on Twitter that he aimed to "open doors for many other queer people to simply exist".

"Historically they say queer people are satanic ... and now you see queer people claiming that position with Satan," said Matthew Blaise, a Nigerian LGBT+ activist.

"It's liberating for me - we are reclaiming this form of negativity that people put on us," Blaise told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Lagos. "The last person that told me I was demonic was my mother and that was two weeks ago."

Nike on Monday sued the company that made 666 pairs of customised Nike Air Max 97 sneakers, purported to contain a drop of human blood, for trademark infringement. Lil Nas X is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Several media outlets reported that the shoes sold out in less than one minute at a cost of $1,018 per pair.

The video and the shoes have provoked outrage in the United States, where President Joe Biden is pushing to expand LGBT+ rights, in a clear departure from the Trump administration.

"We are in a fight for the soul of our nation," tweeted Republican South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, who has banned transgender girls from women's sports.

Jide Macaulay, a gay Christian priest in Britain who runs House of Rainbow, which helps LGBT+ people reconcile their faith with their sexuality or gender identity, said he was not surprised by the negative reactions to the video.

"Lil Nas X represents for me young people who are literally crying out for help and exposing the injustice that we have seen from ... right-wing religious communities against LGBT people," said the British-Nigerian minister

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(Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Openly is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation dedicated to impartial coverage of LGBT+ issues from around the world.

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