Lil Nas X, the openly gay 22-year-old rapper, singer and songwriter, has had a very successful year.
2021 saw the release of Nas' highly controversial song "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" that featured an accompanying music video where Nas does a literal pole dance to hell where he finds himself in several suggestive positions on Satan's lap.
Nas performed the hit on the BET Awards, where he kissed another man on stage near the end of his number.
You can see the performance here:
The crowd cheered.
Response to the moment lit up Twitter, since it was a surprise and an incredibly powerful statement for a young, queer man of color to make.
But, as always, Lil Nas X is facing homophobia now.
After invoking African (and specifically ancient Egyptian) culture in the aesthetic and in the choreography of his piece, he received some hatred for not "[respecting his] ancestors."
Nas made sure the public knew this was nonsense.
And some folks followed up with mini African history lessons.
A handy 2015 column from The Guardian contains more examples of LGBTQ+ representation in traditional African culture.
Another homophobic Tweeter claimed Nas' red carpet attire was going to corrupt the youth.
"I'm sure he was paid a million dollars to wear this nonsense. This will cause other little boys that admire him to dress this way for free and I hate seeing men emasculated."
Nas responded with an affirmation the emasculation of all men was his clear goal.
Nas' boundary-breaking comes with more than a little pushback, as what he is doing was hardly ever attempted on such a grand scale.
But plenty of fans are continuing to love his work, and he's not going anywhere.