Who would we be if our Black gay/queer elders could have lived and loved openly and freely as Lil Nas X. The Gen-Z pop star is a model for a brighter and carefree future. From combating bigotry from the country music industry with his viral debut single, “Old Town Road,” to presenting a more mature, queer-forward visual aesthetic, which brought the attention of global brands YSL Beauty and Coach. (Coach also designed his Montero World Tour wardrobe.) His first official studio album, Montero (Call Me by Your Name) debuted at number 2, and featured Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat and Miley Cyrus. The instantly viral “Industry Baby” shower sequence earned Lil Nas X (née Montero Lamar Hill) and choreographer Sean Bankhead multiple MTV Video Music Awards. Although the pregnancy stunt that “went too far” for some fans, it helped raise over $500,000 for charities when X’s “baby registry” assisted underserved communities impacted by HIV. The future generations are lucky to have this possibility model. —T.T.
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