Apparently, There's a Right Way to Be Black and Gay. Thankfully, Lil Nas X Is Having None of It

As Pride Month comes to a close, Lil Nas X's out and proud BET Awards performance drew ire from some even within the Black LGBTQ community.

 Lil Nas X performs onstage at the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Lil Nas X performs onstage at the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo: Bennett Raglin (Getty Images)

It is the year 2021 of our Lord, and Lil Nas X has been out and proud since Pride Month 2019—and bringing you the rapture since the release of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” this March. But despite the artist’s unapologetic and increasingly fearless unveiling of his identity, there are some who still believe they can dictate the terms of his (or anyone else’s) self-expression—likely because they’re so uncomfortable with their own.

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Case in point: As if Lil Nas X didn’t have enough vitriol lobbed at him from the homophobic and (self-avowed) heterosexuals among us, following his out-and-proud performance of his most recent hit at Sunday’s BET Awards—which closed with a passionate kiss with one of his backup dancers, other purportedly gay Black men took issue with the performance, taking to social media to rail against the performer for doing too much.

Image for article titled Apparently, There's a Right Way to Be Black and Gay. Thankfully, Lil Nas X Is Having None of It
Screenshot: Twitter

Some of those tweets—which included anger at newly out Black gay men being too demonstrative in their same-sex love—have since been deleted. Thankfully, our young king was having none of it.

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Image for article titled Apparently, There's a Right Way to Be Black and Gay. Thankfully, Lil Nas X Is Having None of It
Screenshot: Lil Nas X (Twitter)

Let’s be abundantly clear: Bayard Rustin didn’t march for this overwrought critique. James Baldwin didn’t write Giovanni’s Room for y’all to police another young Black gay man’s self-awakening. Marsha P. Johnson didn’t spark the Stonewall Rebellion (and quite probably die for it) for you to vent your internalized homophobia up and down the timeline. And Audre Lorde didn’t remind us that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” for you to parade your unresolved self-hatred up and down the feed like respectability politics is the hot new trend for Spring/Summer 2021.

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Big picture: representation still matters, and big statements like these make your respectability politics possible and arguably more palatable. So, as Pride Month comes to a close, here’s your seasonal reminder: shutting up is free, neither Blackness nor queerness is a monolith, respectability politics serve no one but our oppressors, and if you don’t like it, don’t do it. Who Lil Nas X kisses doesn’t make you orgasm (or does it?). So why do you care?

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Oh, and by the way—Queen Latifah wishes you a Happy Pride.

Gif: GIPHY

DISCUSSION

By
menage

Having recently seen a live perfomance of the dude for the first time, I thought is was amazing and groundbreaking in puritan bullshit somehow “freedommmmm but not really!” America.

Turn of the damn switch if you don’t like it, like Cardi B isn’t all about that shit.

Signed, a white hetero dude.