Montero Lamar Hill, known in the music industry as Lil Nas X, recently made Grammy history as the first black openly gay artist nominated in top categories and winning two awards.
The 20-year-old country artist received six total nominations, including Best Record, Album, New Artist and more.
Conversely, “Old Town Road,” Hill’s record-breaking track, failed to receive a nomination in any major category at the Country Music Awards in 2019, despite being number one for almost a year. “Old Town Road,” which has topped the charts with over 150 million streams broke extreme streaming records previously set by Drake.
Hill, who came out June 30, 2018, the last day of Pride Month, made a bold decision to come out at the rising height for his career.
Recently, much controversy has surrounding the success and proper recognition of the artist within the country music industry as a whole.
For years and years, many country artists considered bold or risque, lyrically and culturally, have been banned on radio stations and blacklisted within the industry. Some of these artists include Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, The Dixie Chicks, Lil Nas X and many more.
Additionally, the country music scene has historically been primarily white.
In an interview with CBS, Hill said, “I prayed that being gay was just a phase.”
Despite these barriers, Hill is working diligently to fight the biases that have persisted for decades within country music through honesty, genuineness and self-acceptance, expressed through his music and social media.
The work of Hill serves as a breakthrough that will hopefully turn the tide in country music to lead to a more accepting, diverse future.
This will be Emily Stisser’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.
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