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Lil Nas X wins video of the year at the 2021 MTV VMAs: ‘Thank you to the gay agenda!’

Lil Nas X holds up his award for video of the year and speaks into a microphone
Lil Nas X accepts the award for video of the year for “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” at the MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on Sunday in New York.
(Charles Sykes/Associated Press)

Lil Nas X has won video of the year at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.

Grabbing top prize for his controversial music video “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” — which sees the MC descend into the underworld via stripper pole and give a lapdance to the devil — Lil Nas X won the top honor of the night. He beat out Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as Doja Cat and SZA’s “Kiss Me More,” among others.

“I want to say thank you to the gay agenda!” said Lil Nas X, who accepted his Moon Person statue from former Van Halen frontman and rock provocateur David Lee Roth.

“Montero,” which also won the VMAs for best direction and best visual effects, was created by Ukrainian music video director Tanu Muino and Lil Nas X himself. The artist cited inspiration from the gay romance at the center of André Aciman’s novel turned 2017 film, “Call Me by Your Name.”

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Despite echoes of satanic panic from religious and conservative commentators, the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Earlier in the night, Lil Nas X performed “Industry Baby” with fellow rapper Jack Harlow, as well as some of “Montero.” Flanked by a marching band and shirtless dancers in balaclavas, Lil Nas X gyrated front and center in a set built to look like a hot pink prison.

In a bid to challenge stigma against people living with HIV and AIDS, Nas X also invited Madrequs Harris, the director of community investments at the Southern AIDS Coalition, to join him onstage. Harris wore a prison uniform with the number “433,816" emblazoned on the back in red. According to GLAAD, it represents the number of people currently living with HIV in the South.

Lil Nas X’s full-length debut, “Montero,” is due out on Friday.


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