Watch: Lil Nas X Says LGBTQ+ Recording Artists Told to 'Be Gay Without Being Gay'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 3, 2022

Lil Nas X said in an interview over the weekend that what music execs are looking for in LGBTQ+ artists is to "be gay without being gay," UK newspaper the Independent reported.

Appearing on CBS Sunday Morning, Nas X discussed his childhood, his debut album "Montero" and its humorous, sometimes provocative marketing campaign, and how 2021 was a year of "transformation" for him.

"I've learned the ways of the internet," the out music star said of the humorous marketing ploys that have given some conservative-leaning people fits, ET Canada reported. "I've learned how to go viral, and what to stay out of."

But he also disclosed that LGBTQ+ artists are not necessarily encouraged to explore their personal authenticity in their work.

"Nas is not the first out gay rapper," CBS Sunday Morning noted, "but he may be the first to celebrate his sexuality so openly."

Commenting on this, Nas X explained that the messaging LGBTQ+ recording artists get is, "Okay, if you're gay, this needs to be sanitized. Let's not include anything sexual. It's like: 'Be gay without being gay. We don't want to know what happens behind closed doors.'"

For his part, Nas X went on to say, "I'm going to do that if I want to, and I want every other artist to feel the same way."

Among Nas X's controversial output, the segment noted, was the video for "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" in which the out artist "rode a stripper pole to Hell for a lap dance with the Devil."

"Well, you know the saying: 'Gay people will go to Hell,'" the recording star explained. "So it's like, 'Okay, I'm going to Hell.' I went to Hell! And now people are like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe you did that!' But wasn't I going there anyway? Why are you upset about that?"

Watch the CBS Sunday Morning clip below. (Note: The section in which Nas X discusses being a gay rapper begins around the 5:05 mark.)

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.