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

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

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

Wouldst thou like to stay deliciously? Glimpse no further than the tunes movie for Lil Nas X’s new solitary, “Montero (Get in touch with Me By Your Name),” a provocative celebration of queer fantasy and really like. Dripping in glitter and rife with biblical imagery, the online video invites viewers to witness the rapper’s journey from the Garden of Eden, to Heaven, and, finally, to hell as he sings about sexual intercourse. In real camp fashion, Lil Nas X stars in all the roles: Adam, the serpent, a demon, and Satan himself. Unsurprisingly, folks are mad. The video clip has sparked a new satanic panic, with conservative commentators clutching their pearls and attacking the rapper on Twitter. 

But Lil Nas X can unquestionably keep his have. On Instagram, he wrote a appreciate letter to his more youthful self, dedicating “Montero” to the closeted fourteen-yr-old he used to be. In it, he admits that whilst he’s however concerned of people’s anger in reaction to his artwork, he’s also pushing an agenda: 1 to open up doorways for other LGBTQ people and normalize embracing queer identification, somewhat than just tolerating it. As Lil Nas X suggests in his submit, he is that form of gay person—flamboyant, loud, and happy. By stamping his provided title, Montero, on his most current banger, he’s difficult listeners to deal with it.

Lil Nas X’s critics try to cloak their homophobia and racism in issue for youthful customers of the rapper’s tunes. But representations of the devil have extensive existed in children’s media. Disney’s 1929 animated brief film “Hell’s Bells” depicts a party in hell exactly where a lesser demon at some point overthrows Satan.

Seem familiar? “The devil as a gay person” trope is also almost nothing new, specifically in cartoons. And, a lot more specially, neither is “the devil as a red, gay man.” In 1990s Cartoon Network sequence The Powerpuff Women, Cow and Rooster, and I Am Weasel, the principal characters’ most important foes are effeminate, purple demons HIM (His Infernal Majesty) and Purple Person. These villains are legendary, unhinged, and queer-coded. Deliberately or not, Lil Nas X draws on this background in “Montero,” reclaiming the motif and continuing a lengthy tradition of queer blasphemy.

The similarities in between Lil Nas X’s devilish “Montero” persona and HIM in The Powerpuff Girls are striking. Described by the cartoon’s Narrator as a “king of darkness,” HIM is the androgynous secondary nemesis of the titular powerpuff ladies. Normally advised to be Satan, himself, HIM’s seem can be explained as high-femme (lobster claws, aside). He wears wrong lashes, a neat goatee, a pink and crimson ruffled mini-dress, and thigh-large boots. In the last 50 percent of the tunes online video, Lil Nas X pole dances down to hell to assert his rightful seat on the throne as king of the underworld, red braids traveling, legs sheathed in black leather boots.

Call 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 calling for the artist to participate in the villain in the are living-action 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 Crimson Guy, the main antagonist in both Cow and Hen and I Am Weasel. In the former’s pilot, “No Smoking,” jazzy audio plays as the digicam pans to cow and chicken’s nemesis, a red, nude demon. “Hello,” he drawls, surrounded by flames. “It’s me, the satan. I stand for all that is lousy.” Lil Nas X, much too, is “only listed here to sin.”

The Red Guy from Cow and Chicken

Red Guy’s butt is a resource of pride in Cow and Chicken. Cartoon Community

A parody of Satan, Red Male appears nearly created to offend puritanical mother and father. Normally in disguise to lure the key figures to their doom, the villain’s pseudonyms regularly reference his lack of trousers: Officer Pantoffski, Principal Hiney, and NoPants DeLeon to identify a number of. And Purple Guy’s butt—his literal butt—is a source of pleasure for the character and fodder for jokes. The sexual innuendo is potent in Cow and Hen. In “Montero,” lyrically and visually, the symbolism is overt. As Lil Nas X sings, “I wanna truly feel on your ass in Hawaii.”

But the similarities in between these figures and Lil Nas X in “Montero,” are far more than just aesthetic. As shown by Cartoon Network’s pink devils, evil has typically been related with homosexuality because homosexuality has historically been viewed as perverse and even infernal.

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

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