Montero Lamar Hill famously known as Lil Nas X successfully silenced homophobes after they came at him for his hit song Industry Baby. In a tweet that went viral, he said, “Y’all be silent as hell when other black musicians dedicate their entire music catalogue to rapping about sleeping with multiple women, but when I do anything remotely sexual I’m “being sexually irresponsible” and “causing more men to die from AIDS” y’all hate gay people and don’t hide it.
The star’s response was to a Dr Boyce Watkins who insinuated that the song, Industry Baby would spread AIDS. On his Twitter account, Boyce said, “ Lil Nas X isn’t fighting for gay rights. He’s marketing the sexual irresponsibility that’s causing young men to die from AIDS. Being gay is one thing, but being a super spreader is another. There’s nothing healthy or helpful about that video. Especially for children.”
This homophobic narrative isn’t any different from what we had during the Anti-Homosexuality Act lobbying. Homophobic evangelicals tried to drive the narrative that LGBTIQ people in Uganda wanted to recruit children into homosexuality. While tabling the Bill, politician David Bahati said, that LGBTIQ people threatened family values in Uganda and that the West were recruiting poor Ugandan children into gay lifestyles with promises of money and a better life urging that a tough new law was needed. Fortunately the bill was annulled due to a technicality. Although the Bill was annulled LGBTIQ people in Uganda continue to face prejudice.
In what seemed like a publicity stunt to get more followers, Boyce wrote” I’ll respond to Lil Nas X on (he states his online channel). He’s welcome to stop by if he has a perspective. I am sorry if my words hurt your feelings, but as a man who had a cousin die from AIDS, this really pisses me off. Don’t let them use you.”
One Twitter user Kimberly Nichole wrote, “Do you say the same when hetero Black men in rap are vile and sexist and sleep with countless women? Last I checked black women are near the top of the list when it comes to contracting HIV/AIDS from their hetero black male partners. Do touch on that Dr Watkins.”
Another Twitter user Lionel Scott stated some facts,
1 – AIDS can be spread by straight sex too.
2 – Death from AIDs is and has been on the decline, for years now.
3 – The “think of the children” point is backward. If a kid is straight, they’ll be straight. If a kid is gay, they’ll be gay. A music video can’t change that.
According to Dillion another Twitter user, “HIV is entirely preventable with PrEP (taken regularly) and PEP (taken after risk of exposure). Those with HIV go on to live full and normal lives, and cannot transmit the virus onwards once they are undetectable. AIDS is not the boogieman anymore.”
In no relation to this controversy, but very relevant from the perspective of a real doctor, Dr Winnie Byanyima the Executive Director of UNAIDS in the UNAIDS global AIDS update 2021 report noted that,, “We are 40 years into the fight against HIV. Both the successes and the failures have taught us that we cannot prepare for or defeat a pandemic unless we tear down inequalities, promote people-centred, rights-based approaches and work together with communities to reach everyone in need”.
Maybe now is the time for homophobes to join in the fight against AIDS by encouraging and supporting government policies that encourage equality in terms of health care provision instead of bashing LGBTIQ people because we are here to stay.
In subsequent tweets Lil Nas X set up a bail relief crowdfund in collaboration with The Bail Project where according to reports he raised about $43,000 to help out black and Latino men most unable to afford bail.