Why Everyone Seems to Be Angry With Lil Nas X Over His New Video and Sneaker Design
"We are in a pandemic & there is a mass shooting every week but y’all are gathering in church to discuss shoes lmaooo," Lil Nas X said of the controversy.
Lil Nas X’s new music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” has set social media ablaze. After the 21-year-old rapper released the video clip Friday, it seemed as if everyone came out with pitchforks to slam his work and the new sneaker he showed off, which contained Satanic images.
The video and sneaker drew attention from religious conservatives, Fox News pundits, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and even Nike.
The video for “Montero” was released Friday, affording viewers what is likely the wildest trip they can take in 3 minutes and 10 seconds amid the pandemic. The video, with nearly 46 million views, features Lil Nas X in a fictional fantasy world. There, he is tempted by a serpent. After being judged by his community, he is banished to hell where he poll-dances to the netherworld and ends up giving a bondage-clad Satan a lap dance before killing him and taking his horns, wearing them as a crown.
The same day he released the music video, Lil Nas X retweeted an announcement that he was collaborating with Brooklyn-based company MSCHF on "Satan Shoes," which are said to contain "one drop of human blood."
Backlash to the video and news of the footwear was swift.
Pastor Greg Locke of Central Community Church in Pennsylvania went viral after he told his congregation that he could never listen to “Old Town Road” again and called the rapper’s video and sneakers “a bunch of psychotic wickedness.”
Noem slammed the video and sneakers on Twitter.
“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it's ‘exclusive.’ But do you know what's more exclusive?” she wrote. “Their God-given eternal soul. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”
Fox News and CNN commentator Pastor Mark Burns tweeted: “This is evil and heresy and I pray that Christians rise up against this.”
Amid the firestorm of controversy, Lil Nas X, whose birth name is Montero Lamar Hill, shot back at critics on Twitter.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the s*** y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves,” he wrote.
Several theologians also came to the rapper’s defense. Maria Francesca French and Barry Taylor of “Sacred Anarchies: A Post Church Podcast,” which is put on by H&Co, said on their recent episode, “To Hell with the Devil,” Hill's video was meant to drum up this sort of response.
“It is a direct provocation...and they are absolutely taking the bait,” Taylor said on the podcast. “It is like we have gone back to the '80s and '90s ‘Satanic Panic’ moment.”
“We have an artist who is making a political statement, who is making a theological statement, a sexual statement, and it is like you are going to a museum to view a new exhibit on display -- something that is reflecting culture and something that is reflecting a very poignant and powerful statement about the state of affairs between the church and the LGBTQ community” French added.
French also pointed out the video, which came out during the holiest week of the Christian calendar during Lent, as well as leading up to Palm Sunday, raises valid questions of if Christian leaders are “really wrestling for the 'soul of a nation,’ or is this just one more example of the inability of many Christians to rightly read what’s going on in culture?”
“You have someone who has admitted to being rejected by the church his whole life because of his sexual orientation and the struggle with his sexual orientation growing up in the church, so the church rejects him, kicks him out, says he is going ‘to Hell,’ and then [in the video] he actually does go to Hell, conquers it and that is still not good enough for the church,” she added.
Lil Nas X’s “Blood Sneakers,” of which there are only 666 pairs made by art collective MSCHF, also raised eyebrows, and not just for the over-$1,000 price tag. The sneakers, which did, in fact, sell out almost immediately after going on sale Monday, are black with red trim and feature gold pentagrams, inverted crosses, human blood in the sole and the Bible verse of Luke 10:18, which is about Satan’s fall from heaven. They also feature what looks like the iconic Nike logo. In response, the sneaker giant has sued over copyright infringement.
"Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them," the company said in a statement to Fox News.
Nike has asked MSCHF to "permanently stop" fulfilling orders for the "unauthorized" Lil Nas X Satan Shoes, CNN reported.
Nike said in a lawsuit obtained by CBS News that the logo on the side of the sneakers are “likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF's products and Nike," alleging that there's "already evidence of significant confusion and dilution occurring in the marketplace, including calls to boycott Nike in response to the launch of MSCHF's Satan Shoes based on the mistaken belief that Nike has authorized or approved this product."
They also added that due to the backlash “As a direct and proximate result of MSCHF's wrongful acts, Nike has suffered, continues to suffer, and/or is likely to suffer damage to its trademarks, business reputation, and goodwill that money cannot compensate. Unless enjoined, MSCHF will continue to use Nike's Asserted Marks and/or confusingly similar marks and will cause irreparable damage to Nike for which Nike has no adequate remedy at law."
MSCHF has not responded to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment on the lawsuit. Lil Nas X, who was not named in the suit, according to CNN, responded on Twitter to Nike's claims with a SpongeBob SquarePants meme.
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