Young, Gifted, and Black (and Gay)
July 18, 2021 9:51 PM   Subscribe

The Subversive Joy of Lil Nas X’s Gay Pop Stardom NYT Magazine cover story (long read) by Jazmine Hughes. "A peek into a hot boy summer filled with new highs, disappointment and growth." Archive link.
posted by hippybear (14 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I can't even find a pull quote from this because it's not written in a style that works for that. It's a lengthy, insightful profile which also has cultural and historical context, and feels like a good portrayal of a real person as well as examination of their persona and the general marketplace milieu in which all this is taking place.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]

Thank you for posting this! It's a great article.
posted by kdar at 10:58 PM on July 18

Love Jazmine Hughes and loved this article!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:32 PM on July 18

This article is really excellent. I particularly appreciated how it finally got on the record his history as a Nicki Minaj super-fan and Tweetdecker. It was written about before but as Hughes' article says his people were trying to avoid the subject out of some sort of homophobia.

I really admire his hustle. I'd cynically assumed Lil Nas X was manufactured somehow, backed by a boy-band-like-machine that was creating opportunities and marketing personas. But this profile does a great job explaining how much of it is really coming from him. I'm still curious what sort of financial backing he has (that Old Town Road video was expensive) but I'm convinced the creative stuff is him.

If you have a little time there's a bunch of Lil Nas X songs from before he was famous online. Sonic Shit has a video with him in adorable nerd glasses. Shame is worth a listen too. They're interesting; they're definitely his style and have a lot of charisma and charm. But they aren't great. Fun to watch an artist develop.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]

i think Lil Nas X maintains the greatest social media presence of all time. He's a true master of the medium and if you don't follow him on twitter you are missing out.
posted by wowenthusiast at 7:46 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]

I have zero interest in his music, but I love that he seems to be exactly what he wants to be and is finding great success that way. A thoroughly enjoyable article. I mean maddening in the usual ways, in that the world really did and does try to fuck with Nas in all the ways we expect it to fuck with a gay black man, but enjoyable that he's come through it with an obvious love for himself and who wants to be.
posted by cirhosis at 8:21 AM on July 19

I think this is brand new? Free Lil Nas X, a website promoting his debut album that comes July 23. There's a short video spoofing Nike's trademark case against him for the Satan Shoes.
posted by Nelson at 8:44 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

I knew nothing about him until the 2020 superbowl doritos commercial. I still love that commercial and play it again every now and then because of all the layered levels of subversion and snark at conventional tropes.

I've been a fan ever since. Better late than never!
posted by mightshould at 9:29 AM on July 19

The last couple of paragraphs, with the discussion of Angel Numbers that LNX has been seeing, followed by the author bio: Shikeith is an artist and a filmmaker in Pittsburgh. His work focuses on the experiences of Black men within and around concepts of psychic space. is a distinct and sudden change of direction. I wonder what kind of conversations about that never made it into this article.

But it’s already about breaking enough taboos. Don’t need to start discussing magic on top of that. Not in the NYT at least.
posted by egypturnash at 3:28 PM on July 19

Googling Shikeith was worthwhile. He's an interesting artist (with an MFA from Yale, no less!). Shikeith Exorcises the Histories that Haunt Black Queer Men [Frieze] was an interesting read.
posted by hippybear at 7:51 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]

Lil Nas X Is Gen Z's Defining Icon [Digital Native Substack]
posted by ellieBOA at 10:15 PM on July 19

When I asked him about his first memory of his brother, he paused for a while. “I don’t know,” he said eventually. “I just remember, out of nowhere, just having a good time.”

This is maybe the nicest thing I've ever heard someone say about someone else. Great article.
posted by voiceofreason at 2:06 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]

Today I saw that his new music video is being used as a promotion for bail funds and against mass incarceration - and this writeup suggests that he made up a several months long storyline about a court case as part of the release?

Lil Nas X uses his prison themed “Industry Baby” video as a fundraiser for the Bail Project which is a nonprofit that combatting mass incarceration.
posted by bashing rocks together at 12:00 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]

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