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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Community reacts to Lil Nas X controversy

Lil Nas X Sparks Controversy with Biblical Imagery in Music Video
Flickr%3A+Lil+Nas+X+by+Masoz+John+is+licensed+under+Attribution-ShareAlike+%28CC+BY-SA+2.0%29
“Flickr: Lil Nas X” by Masoz John is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rapper Lil Nas X, formally known as ‘Montero Lamar Hill,’ is under fire for his controversial music video using biblical imagery, according to a January 2024 Rolling Stone article. Several religious individuals in the Bowling Green community also find the video troubling.

The video released on Jan. 12 sparked controversy when Hill portrayed Jesus Christ strapped to a cross, a reenactment of a biblical scene. However, the video also features a heated basketball game between Satan and Christ, with Christ ending triumphantly.

Since then, Lil Nas X simultaneously apologized and defended himself online, as his actions were viewed by many as a mockery.

“I didn’t mean to mock. This wasn’t a ‘F*ck you to you people. F*ck you to the Christians.’ It was not that,” Hill said in an apology video.

Hill explained his thoughts surrounding the video by saying, “It was literally me saying… I’m back like Jesus,” following his nearly two-year hiatus.

Fr. Jeff Walker, pastor at St. Thomas More University Parish in Bowling Green, offered his thoughts on the Hill apology and the fine print of free speech.

“Part of free expression is that you have to be willing to accept the consequences of that expression,” said Walker. “I don’t think once you see the backlash you get to say ‘Oh, I didn’t mean it.”

Celebrity apology videos have gained a stereotype of being disingenuous since their apologies usually follow upset from their fanbase or audience.

Walker additionally pointed out, ‘when we speak of things lightly, when we treat them as just toys to be played with, we begin to think of them that way,’ referencing how many celebrities and non-celebrities treat religion and identifying groups as something not serious.

Evan VanSkyock, member of the St. Thomas More Catholic community in Bowling Green, didn’t think the Christian comeback by Hill was necessary.

“When it comes to mainstream music industry, I feel they’re [Catholics] underrepresented. In certain aspects, our faith is mocked by major artists,” said VanSkyock.

He also emphasized the feeling of mockery some members of the church feel when they see their religion represented in the media, especially when the depictions are inaccurate.

“To have someone put themselves on the cross or put the crown of thorns on his own head. Or even feminize the outfits that he [Jesus Christ] would wear and have the golden word ‘sex’ across his throat… it just feels like mockery,” he said.

Some people, however, do not view creativity as problematic, but instead, view it as the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

Alex Wing, freelance artist living in Bowling Green, clarified the delicate balance between recognizing artistic value and avoiding the misrepresentation of a community.

“He [Hill] can say whatever he wants but everybody else can also just say ‘shut up,” Wing said, touching on both sides of the argument.

Wing further explained their thoughts on offensive art and the fear of offending groups.

“I think that art is supposed to make people uncomfortable. If you put a line on it, that means that progressive art can’t get made,” they said.

Some believe taking a brief hiatus from music releases could help the restoration of Hill’s reputation following the general upset. In response to fan’s inquiries about a new album, he responded, ‘most likely summer,’ on his X account.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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