Lil Nas X, the 20-year-old rapper whose hit song “Old Town Road” broke Mariah Carey’s Billboard record for most weeks at the top of the charts, opened up toCBS This Morning about the challenges he faced coming out as gay.
Sitting down with host Gayle King, he addressed how he felt before revealing his sexuality publicly, and what people around him would say about gay people. “I you did, like, anything, like, slightly feminine, it was, like, you know, ‘Don’t do that gay s***,’ you know. So, you know, just, like, growin’ up, you see it’s not okay.”
King then asked, “Did you know as a little boy that you were gay?”
“Yeah, definitely. I knew, especially, like, around my teenage, like, years. You know, I would just, like, you know, pray, pray, and pray and …” answered Nas.
“What were you praying for?” asked King.
Nas replied, “That it was, like, a phase.”
He also spoke to how he hoped him coming out and sharing his truth might help young people.
“I mean, ’cause me being in this position, like, it’s easy for me,” the rapper said. “But, like, some little boy 10 miles from here. It’s not gonna be good for him.”
King then followed up: “But don’t you think you coming out could probably help others who are struggling the way you were struggling with it?”
Nas explained that while he might serve as an inspiration, being a fan of his music might open the door for kids to be bullied.
“I think it’s gonna always help, you know. … We still have a long way to go, because it’s not, like, everybody, is, like, messing with me now,” he said. “’Cause of course, you know, somebody who’s, like, listenin’ to me in school right now, it’s, like, you know, you listening to you’re gay, ’cause you’re listening to him. So it’s, like, there’s still a lot to be done, of course. But I do believe it’s helping.”
The genre-blurring Atlanta rapper come out as gay in June.
“Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm [f*** with me] no more. But before this month ends I want y’all to listen closely to ‘C7osure,’” Nas tweeted, referring to a track on his debut EP, 7. He notably punctuated the tweet with a rainbow emoji.
Lil Nas X’s revelation is especially brave considering that the country and hip-hop fanbases have been historically conservative and sometimes reactionary when it comes to homosexuality. However, he received an outpouring of support.
Most people focused on how he’s an example for teens that might be struggling with coming out, while others just shared love for the rapper.