Speaking to TIME, Nas X explained that he initially never planned on revealing his sexuality to the world, saying that he was taught from a young age that homosexuality “is never going to be okay”. He was also afraid that telling the truth might make him lose fans. “I know the people who listen to [‘Old Town Road’] the most, and they’re not accepting of homosexuality,” he said.
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When @lilnasx's debut single “Old Town Road” exploded online early this year and began climbing the charts, industry prognosticators anticipated a quick rise and fall. It’s now the longest-running No. 1 song in history, having occupied the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 weeks. It’s been streamed more than a billion times on @spotify alone. All of this has made “Old Town Road” the defining sound of the year, a slurry, genre-busting interpolation of two quintessential American musical genres: #country and hip-hop. Yet even from his perch, writes Andrew R. Chow, Lil Nas is still an outlier. There aren’t many black stars in country #music; there aren’t many queer stars in #hiphop. There aren’t many queer black stars in American culture, point-blank. The fact that Lil Nas has risen so far and so fast testifies not only to his skill, but also to the erosion of the systems that for generations kept #artists like him on the sidelines. At a time when debates about categorization and identity are ubiquitous, Lil Nas X represents a more unified vision of the future, one in which a young #queer black man can dominate popular #culture by being unapologetically himself. “Everything lined up for this moment to take me to this place,” he says now. “Not to sound self-centered, but it feels like I’m chosen, in a way, to do this stuff.” Read more at the link in bio. Photograph by @kelianne for TIME; animation by @brobeldesign; “Old Town Road” (p) 2019 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
But the singer later had a change of heart, revealing that he felt “pushed by the universe” into coming out. “I’m seeing Pride flags everywhere and seeing couples holding hands – little stuff like that,” he said. Nas X came out to his father and sister first in June before he decided to announce it on Twitter weeks later.
deadass thought i made it obvious pic.twitter.com/HFCbVqBkLM
— nope (@LilNasX) June 30, 2019
Following the reveal, the viral star faced homophobic abuse on social media from trolls who criticised his decision to come out. But Nas X coolly responded to his detractors with jokes, offering to kiss the next person who said anything offensive.
The singer also received support from fellow musicians, including Young Thug, who appeared on an ‘Old Town Road’ remix with Mason Ramsey. The rapper applauded Nas X’s decision to come out during Pride month, calling it a “G’s move”.
Last month, Nas X said he hoped that making his sexuality public would help “open doors” for others.
Elsewhere in the TIME interview, the rising star revealed that he’s got new songs produced by Pharrell in the vault and that he plans to drop a music video for his Cardi B-assisted track ‘Rodeo’ soon.