Whether you love him or hate him, Montero by Lil Nas X will go down in history.
Published on March 26, Montero has garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. The insanely viral video launched days before Nike announced it would be suing Lil Nas X for selling unofficial “Satan” Nikes that allegedly contained a drop of human blood.
Whatever you may think, Lil Nas X and his team are marketing geniuses. Their interaction with fans and response to criticism are unequivocally humorous yet infuriating, depending on who you ask. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to take your eyes off Lil Nas X with so much conversations surrounding him. Montero (Call Me by Your Name) has history buffs and LGBTQIA allies alike raving over symbolism and critique. Montero, also Lil Nas X’s first name, is a place where one can be his or her true self – not hiding from anyone or anything.
The video begins in a setting reminiscent of the biblical location of the Garden of Eden as Lil Nas X is greeted by a serpent – similar to Adam and Eve – tempting him to sin. The camera then pans up to an engraving on a tree which showcases a quote from Symposium by the famous Greek philosopher Plato. The translation reads as follows:
“Now when our first form had been cut in two, each half in longing for its fellow would come to it again; and then would they fling their arms about each other and in mutual embraces yearn to be grafted together, till they began to perish of hunger and general indolence, through refusing to do anything apart.”
This quote explains why we feel love for others. Some of us feel love for our identified gender or for our opposite gender. Whatever the case is, the video depicts that the this idea of human love was already outlined in ancient Grecian history, which is important to remember since LGBTQIA voices have been around for centuries.
The scene then shifts to a colosseum-like location, a structure seen in most major cities that were a part of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, a colosseum would be a place of entertainment filled with gladiator battles and fights between animals and humans. It is not concrete whether people were publicly shamed or stoned to death in colosseums but it was an ancient practice outlined in some parts of the Bible. In this scene, Lil Nas X is stoned to death and his spirit begins it’s ascension to heaven.
On his way there, a pole emerges and Lil Nas X wraps his hands around it to commence his controversial slide down to hell. As he walks up to the throne of the devil, he passes a latin quote that translates to, “they condemn what they do not understand.” A critique towards those who oppose LGBTQIA rights, fearing that it intrudes with their own belief system.
If this video makes you uncomfortable or upset, it is important to understand why. Often, people who are different from the societal norm are categorized as outcasts. Already, there are institutions including the Westboro Baptist Church that has outwardly invoked those who are gay are on their path to hell.
Evidently, Lil Nas X’s has reframed that narrative.