It’s fair to say that Lil Nas X is no stranger to controversy, and over the past year, he has even been accused of being a “devil worshipper” for his attention-grabbing performances and music videos.
His chart-topping single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” upset some Christians when the music video showed him giving Satan a lapdance following his descent to hell.
And shortly after the video dropped, Lil Nas X fueled the backlash when he released 666 pairs of custom Nike Air Max 97s, which he called “Satan Shoes.” At the time it was reported that the $1,018 sneakers contained a droplet of human blood.
They also had “Luke 10:18” embossed on them, which is a reference to the biblical verse where Satan falls from heaven.
Some members of conservative religious communities were further outraged by Lil Nas X’sSaturday Night Liveperformance back in May, which played into the satanic themes already laid out in the video.
It also included pole dancing, and a wardrobe malfunction — with Lil Nas X’s pants splitting midway through the routine, but he carried on with the performance like a pro.
Reacting to the SNL appearance at the time, one Twitter user said of the star: “He already sold his soul to the devil. You see in the video it’s all about the devil. I can’t believe people actually listen to this devil worshipper.”
But Lil Nas X was unbothered by the message, which he retweeted to his own social media page and simply added, “who cares, i look hot.”
One month later, Lil Nas X ruffled feathers again with another live performance, this time at the 2021 BET Awards.
The openly gay musician ended his performance by kissing a male backup dancer onstage, and while Lil Nas was widely praised for the act, it also sparked fierce anti-gay backlash.
Addressing the controversy on social media afterward, Lil Nas X said that it’d taken a lot for him to prepare for the performance because he knew that it was unlike anything that’d ever happened at the awards ceremony before.
“it took me a lot of time to mentally prepare for this performance. while on stage i was trembling knowing that i was performing something like that in front of my straight peers,” he wrote. "even during the performance i was having a hard time calming my nerves."
But despite his nerves, Lil Nas X was brimming with confidence after the fact and had plenty to say in response to the trolls who sent him hateful messages.
Seemingly referencing Lil Nas X’s Egyptian pharaoh outfit complete with knee-high boots from the performance, one Twitter user had written: “DON’T USE AFRICAN CULTURE FOR SHIT LIKE THIS!!!! RESPECT OUR ANCESTORS.”
“y’all really like to pretend homosexuality didn’t exist in african culture,” Lil Nas X nonchalantly replied at the time.
Someone else took issue with Lil Nas wearing a dress on the ceremony’s red carpet and accused him of emasculating men and being a bad influence on children. They tweeted: “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.”
Lil Nas X was characteristically dismissive as he responded: “we causing the emasculation of men all 2021.”
So, looking at his track record, it’s unsurprising that there was plenty of excitement when it was announced that Lil Nas X would be performing at this year’s Grammys, which took place on Sunday.
The star, who was nominated for five awards, took the stage for a medley of his biggest hits, including “Industry Baby,” where he was joined by Jack Harlow.
In contrast to his past high-profile performances, this was a relatively low-key affair and Lil Nas X did not include anything in the routine that could be considered controversial or offensive to any communities — or so he thought.
Sharing a photo of Lil Nas X wearing his stunning crystal-studded Balmain top, which revealed his midriff, during the performance, conservative TV host Greg Kelly tweeted: “‘Lil NAS has a BIG PROBLEM (And so does America)—-knock yourself out NAS. You’re a little FOOL with zero talent!!!!”
Securing his status as the King of Clapbacks, Lil Nas X appeared to allude to his more divisive past performances in his response.
Hinting that he did not expect to receive any backlash this time around thanks to his more understated show, Lil Nas X retweeted the comment and wrote: “damn greg all i did was wear a crop top this time.”
His followers were living for the sassy response, which was retweeted thousands of times and received over half a million likes.
Lil Nas X has only recently returned to social media after taking a three-month hiatus in December, which concerned fans at the time.
But upon his comeback on March 16, Lil Nas X quickly made up for his absence as he revealed that he’d been working on new music and his second album was “close to finished.”
Lil Nas X even teased fans with snippets of his new songs, and when he failed to win any Grammys at the weekend he vowed to “go even harder” next time around.
The star told fans: “last night was my favorite performance yet. and a fun night in general. we lost all our grammies but that just mean it’s time to go even harder! love y’all.”
And if that means that his next album is going to be even better than his debut, it’s safe to say that we are all in for a treat.