Even if “Old Town Road” was actually a family-friendly tune, the suggestion that an artist once known for child-friendly material should never venture into adult fare is risible, considering Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, Zendaya and other artists I can list here have found profound success doing just that. It’s also hilariously ironic that evangelical Christians are mad that the video depicts what many of them believe to be the fate of unrepentant gay folks: They’re headed to Hell in a handbasket to mingle with the devil. How can they be pissed when this is what they believe?
If MSCHF can weather Nike’s lawsuit, the marketing for the custom shoes is actually a masterstroke. Only 666 numbered pairs? Sold for $1,018 a pair after a biblical verse? Freakin’ brilliant. That’s why they sold out in less than a minute and will probably have an absurd after-market. The human blood bit is much ado about nothing at all, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if someone cracked open a sole to conduct a DNA test and discover that it’s actually raspberry syrup or red nail polish.
How you feel about the video and the shoe all comes down to where you fall on the spectrum of concern over religion, “demons” and whatnot. But we’ve been doing this dance for generations with art that challenges and subverts; to the best of my knowledge, no one’s music video ever created an army of Satan-worshiping murderers. After all, it’s not the devil worshippers shooting up schools, massage parlors or storming the U.S. Capitol, is it?
That which is undeniable, though: at only 21, Lil Nas X has this marketing thing down pat, and your anger only fuels him and makes him stronger. Keep up with the fussing and hand-wringing…he’s got time.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at wafflecolored.com.