Lil Nas X burst into the scene in 2019 with his smash-hit “Old Town Road,” which spent a historic 19 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for three Grammy Awards.
That June, the rapper further made headlines by revealing he was gay. Speaking to XXL, the 22-year-old explained why he decided to come out during such a pivotal moment in his career.
“I honestly felt like it was kind of my duty… Especially if I wanted to move forward,” he said, admitting that he once thought he’d never come out. “And what I was doing, because authenticity is very real, and I feel like people can see right through that. And that’s a part of me.”
Lil Nas X said that he also worried how people would judge him after he came out, adding, “For me, I felt like [my insecurity with my sexuality] was my fear of people judging me for how I would act post-coming out.”
Noting how the hip hop community has treated him since revealing his sexuality, he admitted, “Honestly, I don’t feel as respected in hip-hop or many music places in general.”
“But these are communities that I am a part of, whether people would like it or not,” he continued. “This is something that I wanted to do because, not that my entire album is rap, but there are rap tracks on my album. I am a rapper. I am a pop star. I am a gay artist, I belong in these places, you know?”
Dolly Parton agrees. On Wednesday, she shouted out the rapper for recently covering her hit song, “Jolene.” Saying she was “honored and flattered” by his “really, really good” cover,” she added, “Of course, I love him anyway.”
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