Lil Nas X: Frank Ocean, Tyler, the Creator ‘made it easier’ to be queer artist

The 'Old Town Road' star says he was inspired to make his sexual orientation public after seeing other artists do the same

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Last year, rapper Lil Nas X used Twitter to publicly come out as gay at the end of 2019 Pride Month. Now the 21-year-old viral phenom is revealing who inspired him to share his sexual orientation while dominating both hip-hop and country, two genres that have a history of normalized homophobia.

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SHEIN Together Virtual Festival To Benefit The COVID – 19 Solidarity Response Fund For WHO Powered By The United Nations Foundation
In this screengrab, Lil Nas X speaks during SHEIN Together Virtual Festival to benefit the COVID – 19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the United Nations Foundation on May 09, 2020. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for SHEIN)

Monday, during an interview with Zane Lowe, the often mischievous entertainer opened up about how the bravery of other queer Black hip-hop/R&B artists like Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator gave him the idea that he could do the same and still be successful.

“I think artists like Frank in general and, like, Tyler and whatever, they made it easier for me to be where I am, comfortably,” he explained while praising one of Ocean’s 2017 singles. “‘Provider’ was a very special song to me during this relationship I was in. So yeah, go Frank, he’s amazing.”

Now that he’s a two-time Grammy-winning success, Lil Nas X says he realized that he might as well be honest not just for himself but for those who are following his career.

62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards – Backstage
Tyler, the Creator attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“I was just getting signs, ‘OK. It’s time we do this thing.’ Because it’s like I’m already moving forward and I’m becoming more free with everything I do, so let’s take this to the next level and do this,” he continued. 

“Because I mean, it was either going to be that or what? Pretend this for the rest of my entire life? … And also being one of those people that was like, ‘OK, I want to make room for you now.’ So everybody who’s coming behind me, ‘OK. This is going to be cool. It’s going to work out fine.’ Yeah.”

Lil Nas X also cited his growing influence that made him want to provide an example and inspire others in the same way he says was inspired.

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“But that’s another reason why I knew that I had to do it. Because the day before I was like, ‘Damn, should I really do this? Is this what…’ And I’m like, ‘No, this is definitely what I should do.’ Especially given my platform, where I am, the communities that I stand in between. It’s like little s— like this shouldn’t be a problem.”

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