Lil Nas X took home the Moonman trophy for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards’ main prize, Video of the Year.
The rapper and singer-songwriter won the award for his iconic Montero (Call Me By Your Name) music video, which spent five weeks at number one in the UK earlier this year.
The video faced fierce criticism from conservative critics, who slammed its sexually explicit nature and depictions of religious themes.
In his acceptance speech for the award, Lil Nas X brilliantly showed how unbothered he is by the criticism as he thanked the LGBTQ+ community for their support.
“Let’s go,” the Old Town Road star said. “Wow, oh my God. Okay, first I wanna say thank you to the gay agenda, let’s go gay agenda!”
His words were met with an uproar of cheers from the crowd before Lil Nas X went on to thank several members of his team for their work.
He then promoted his debut album, Montero, which is scheduled to be released on 17 September.
“I love you guys so much I do not take this for granted,” Lil Nas X told his fans as he rounded out his acceptance speech.
The Industry Baby hitmaker won big at the 12 September awards ceremony, also taking home Moonmen for Best Direction and Best Visual Effects for his album’s title track.
In his VMA performance, Lil Nas X highlighted the struggle of those living with HIV in the south of the US.
He was seen wearing a jacket with the number 433,816 on it in red (the universal colour of HIV awareness) – representing the number of people living with the virus in that region as of 2015.
GLAAD praised Lil Nas X on Twitter, saying: “@LilNasX delivered a powerful performance at the #VMAs and shined a spotlight on the stigma that fuels HIV, especially across the South.
“Mardrequs Harris from @SouthernAIDSCo wore the number 433,816 in red, representing the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South.”
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) September 13, 2021
On 31 August, the rapper and singer-songwriter revealed the highly anticipated cover art of the record.
The image shows the 22-year-old floating completely naked above a moss-covered stream in front of what appears to be a palace being crushed by a giant purple sphere.
The seemingly cartoon-inspired cover art is reminiscent of the Montero (Call Me By Your Name) music video imagery and shows two circular rainbows behind Lil Nas X’s body – which could be a subtle nod to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Industry Baby star also revealed the titles of all 15 tracks fans can look forward to hearing – including five features.
Montero will include all of Lil Nas X’s recent hits (Montero, Industry Baby (feat. Jack Harlow) and Sun Goes Down), as well as guest appearances on brand new songs from Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion.
Lil Nas X rose to fame in 2019 following the success of his Old Town Road remix with Billy Ray Cyrus.
The song became the longest-running number one single in the US, spending 19 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over 18 million units worldwide.
Since then, hits such as Montero (Call Me By Your Name) and Industry Baby have seen continued commercial success and only built the hype for his new album more.
Montero will be out on 17 September and you can see the full tracklist below.
01 Montero (Call Me by Your Name)
02 Dead Right Now
03 Industry Baby (feat. Jack Harlow)
04 That’s What I Want
05 The Art of Realization
06 Scoop (feat. Doja Cat)
07 One of Me (feat. Elton John)
08 Lost in the Citadel
09 Dolla Sign Slime (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)
10 Tales of Dominica
11 Sun Goes Down
13 Don’t Want It
14 Life After Salem
15 Am I Dreaming (feat. Miley Cyrus)