Lil Nas X’s “Montero” & the Numerous Hot, Queer Devils in Pop Tradition

L: HIM from The Powerpuff Girls. R: Lil Nas X.

L: HIM from The Powerpuff Girls. R: Lil Nas X (from his Montero photoshoots). Cartoon Network Twitter

Wouldst thou like to reside deliciously? Seem no additional than the new music online video for Lil Nas X’s new solitary, “Montero (Call Me By Your Identify),” a provocative celebration of queer fantasy and love. Dripping in glitter and rife with biblical imagery, the video invites viewers to witness the rapper’s journey from the Back garden of Eden, to Heaven, and, at last, to hell as he sings about sex. In accurate camp vogue, Lil Nas X stars in all the roles: Adam, the serpent, a demon, and Satan himself. Unsurprisingly, individuals are mad. The video has sparked a new satanic worry, with conservative commentators clutching their pearls and attacking the rapper on Twitter. 

But Lil Nas X can absolutely hold his personal. On Instagram, he wrote a love letter to his youthful self, dedicating “Montero” to the closeted fourteen-yr-aged he utilized to be. In it, he admits that although he’s still concerned of people’s anger in reaction to his art, he’s also pushing an agenda: one particular to open doors for other LGBTQ people today and normalize embracing queer identity, relatively than just tolerating it. As Lil Nas X suggests in his put up, he is that sort of homosexual person—flamboyant, loud, and happy. By stamping his provided identify, Montero, on his most up-to-date banger, he’s demanding listeners to offer with it.

Lil Nas X’s critics try to cloak their homophobia and racism in problem for younger consumers of the rapper’s audio. But representations of the devil have extended existed in children’s media. Disney’s 1929 animated quick film “Hell’s Bells” depicts a celebration in hell where a lesser demon sooner or later overthrows Satan.

https://www.youtube.com/enjoy?v=OipRhmy38TA

Audio acquainted? “The satan as a gay person” trope is also absolutely nothing new, notably in cartoons. And, far more especially, neither is “the satan as a crimson, gay male.” In 1990s Cartoon Community series The Powerpuff Ladies, Cow and Hen, and I Am Weasel, the most important characters’ key foes are effeminate, pink demons HIM (His Infernal Majesty) and Pink Man. These villains are legendary, unhinged, and queer-coded. Intentionally or not, Lil Nas X draws on this record in “Montero,” reclaiming the motif and continuing a extended custom of queer blasphemy.

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=6swmTBVI83k

The similarities between Lil Nas X’s devilish “Montero” persona and HIM in The Powerpuff Women are striking. Explained by the cartoon’s Narrator as a “king of darkness,” HIM is the androgynous secondary nemesis of the titular powerpuff ladies. Frequently recommended to be Satan, himself, HIM’s search can be explained as significant-femme (lobster claws, aside). He wears phony lashes, a neat goatee, a pink and crimson ruffled mini-dress, and thigh-high boots. In the closing 50 % of the music video clip, Lil Nas X pole dances down to hell to declare his rightful seat on the throne as king of the underworld, crimson braids traveling, legs sheathed in black leather-based boots.

https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=fO59SzHLnBA

Call Me By Your Name Montero GIF by Lil Nas X - Find & Share on GIPHYCall Me By Your Name Montero GIF by Lil Nas X - Find & Share on GIPHY

The resemblance to HIM is uncanny, so significantly so that Twitter consumers are contacting for the artist to engage in the villain in the stay-motion reboot of The Powerpuff Women, prepared to air on the CW. Lil Nas X’s prudish detractors are lamenting the singer’s departure from “Old City Road” (which is no kids’ bop), but like HIM, he “never offers repeat performances.”

Lesser regarded than HIM is Purple Man, the primary antagonist in both Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel. In the former’s pilot, “No Using tobacco,” jazzy tunes performs as the digital camera pans to cow and chicken’s nemesis, a purple, nude demon. “Hello,” he drawls, surrounded by flames. “It’s me, the satan. I stand for all that is negative.” Lil Nas X, far too, is “only here to sin.”

The Red Guy from Cow and ChickenThe Red Guy from Cow and Chicken

Pink Guy’s butt is a resource of delight in Cow and Chicken. Cartoon Network

A parody of Satan, Purple Male seems almost made to offend puritanical dad and mom. Generally in disguise to entice the main people to their doom, the villain’s pseudonyms on a regular basis reference his deficiency of trousers: Officer Pantoffski, Principal Hiney, and NoPants DeLeon to title a handful of. And Crimson Guy’s butt—his literal butt—is a source of delight for the character and fodder for jokes. The sexual innuendo is sturdy in Cow and Chicken. In “Montero,” lyrically and visually, the symbolism is overt. As Lil Nas X sings, “I wanna experience on your ass in Hawaii.”

But the similarities between these people and Lil Nas X in “Montero,” are extra than just aesthetic. As shown by Cartoon Network’s purple devils, evil has often been affiliated with homosexuality because homosexuality has traditionally been viewed as perverse and even infernal.

In his artwork, Lil Nas X leans into the stereotypes and associations the creators of HIM and Purple Man used to style and design their villains. The rapper embodies all sides of himself: tempted human, righteous angel, and, yes, lustful devil. Subversive in its pleasure, “Montero” gleefully confirms bigots’ worst fears: Lil Nas X is youthful, Black, and homosexual, and he has kinky, “gay” sexual intercourse. But if these naysayers’ young ones have at any time viewed Cartoon Network, it’s probable nothing at all they have not glimpsed just before. Hail Satan.


Observation Points is a semi-common discussion of important information in our culture.

Lil Nas X’s “Montero” Is the Latest in Red-Hot, Sexy, Queer Satanic Panic

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