Lil Nas X music video revives 'satanic panic'

April 19, 2021

Just before Easter, rapper Lil Nas X revived a bit of the “satanic panic” of the 1980s with the re­lease of the music video for his song “Mon­tero (Call Me by Your Name),” which is rife with satanic imagery.

In the video, Nas, who is openly gay, is depicted as being thrown out of heav­­en before descending into hell, where he gives Satan a lap dance, kills him, and assumes his horns for himself—all while singing about his painful journey to self-acceptance.

Nas simultaneously released limited edition sneakers—only 666 pairs—called “Satan Shoes,” modified Nikes that allegedly contain a drop of human blood and were produced by the same company that in 2019 made “Jesus Shoes,” which allegedly contained a drop of holy water. (In April, both Satan Shoes and Jesus Shoes were removed from circulation after Nike sued over the unauthorized use of their shoes.)

The backlash from religious and cultural conservatives was immediate.

In a now-viral video of a sermon, Greg Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church, said he would never listen to Lil Nas X’s music because of the video.

“You think I’m going to stand for that? You’ve lost your mind,” he said. “Bunch of Satanism. Bunch of wickedness. Bunch of devilism. Bunch of demonism. Bunch of psychotic wickedness.”

On Twitter, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem shared a post about Nas’s Satan Shoes and wrote, “We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”

But some progressive Christians, like Jacqui Lewis, have embraced the music video.

The true scandal of the video, the pastor and activist wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, isn’t the satanic imagery. “It’s the preaching that made him feel less than beautiful, sacred, and beloved.”

Nas himself tweeted, “i spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay. so i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”