Atlanta artist Lil Nas X has used his platform to address a viral video of a 12-year-old suffering homophobic abuse from family.
In an interview with Out, Lil Nas X reflected on his experiences growing up in Atlanta and explained his understanding of experiencing anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour from those closest around you.
“Growing up in the Atlanta area, I [saw] a lot of microaggressions towards homosexuality,” the 22-year-old star said.
Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, opened up about witnessing homophobic behaviour and how hearing insensitive comments at a young age can have a lasting impact.
“[It was] little things like going into an IHOP and hearing one of your family members say, ‘Look at those faggots’ to two people eating or even just a small [statement like] ‘Boys don’t cry.’ Little shit like living in the hood, not being super into sports, and then having to go outside and pretend that I was.”
Growing up in an anti-LGBTQ+ environment led to the singer “pushing that part of myself in more and more, almost convincing myself that it’s not even actually there.”
The star mentioned a video of a 12-year-old Black child, named Tyler, who was reportedly being abused for identifying as LGBTQ+.
The Twitter video, which went viral on social media, saw Tyler being laughed at while having the word “gay” shaved into the side of their head.
Since the post went viral, sources have claimed that Tyler has been removed by the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS).
“It takes you back in time, watching somebody else’s experience,” Nas said explaining. For him, the video was a reminder of how instrumental his BET Awards performance could be in showing queer visibility for the community and younger generation.
“I was in rehearsals like, ‘Oh, my God. I have to do my absolute fucking best with this performance because of shit like this.’”
Three people connected to Tyler (Lorkeyla Spencer, Brittney Mills, and Jordan Richards-Nwankwo were reportedly arrested last month.
Spencer, Mills, and Richards-Nwankwo are facing charges of first-degree cruelty to children as well as an investigation by the Atlanta Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Richards-Nwanko, 18, is facing an additional charge of battery towards Tyler.
Atlanta Police Department Sgt. John Chafee released a statement following the arrest of the three suspects believed to be involved in harming Tyler.
“We’re very pleased with these arrests but we are pleased with feedback that we got from members of the community assisting in this and how quickly they were able to jump on it,” Chafee said.