In an Aug. 3 interview with Out magazine, Lil Nas X opened up about his performance at the 2021 BET Awards, which included a steamy kiss with one of his male backup dancers. While it may have looked like the rapper was nothing but confident on stage, he told the publication that that wasn’t actually the case behind the scenes. Lil Nas X's quotes about being an openly gay Black rapper explain why he was so nervous leading up to the big moment.
The star admitted he wasn’t sure how his same-sex kiss would be perceived because he sometimes feels like he doesn’t fit in with other rappers. “Going to this place with all these overly masculine rappers and you’re finna be in there throwing a little ass every now and then, touching on dudes and hugging them and kissing them… at some points, I was like, ‘Should I even do this? I don’t feel like they’re going to love me like that,’” he revealed, adding the experience was like “jumping in a lake full of sharks and piranhas.”
“Mentally, it’s really draining and straining sometimes. The pressure of living your entire life knowing the identity of what a rapper is supposed to be, what rappers [are supposed to] do going out there in front of all these people, it’s terrifying,” he said.
At the end of the day, he said he did it to send a message that “this is my space now too.”
His performance at the BET Awards is just one of the many things Lil Nas has had to overcome. He said growing up in Atlanta as a young gay Black man wasn’t easy, either. “I [saw] a lot of microaggressions towards homosexuality,” he recalled. “Little things like going into an IHOP and hearing one of your family members say, ‘Look at those f*ggots’ to two people eating or even just a small [statement like] ‘Boys don’t cry.’ Little sh*t like living in the hood, not being super into sports, and then having to go outside and pretend that I was.”
Although he’s gone through so much, Lil Nas said he’s grown a lot from his experiences. When he first became a rapper, he just wanted to make it big and blend with others, but now, his priorities have changed. “Now I have even more of a purpose: to continue to find myself and, by doing so, help others find themselves,” he said.