As we cool down from the haze of excitement from the Grammys and Oscars, we can’t help but look back at Lil Nas X. While certain events grabbed the spotlight online, the young artist held out a silver lining with his charming and care-free performance.

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On stage with Jack Harlow to sing Grammy nominee hit “Industry Baby,” the two were decked out in angular, glittering black velvet suits embellished with shining silver buttons and straps. Of course, it’s not a true show of the “Old Town Road” star if there isn’t some wow factor, much like his famous kiss at the BET Awards last summer.

Initially covered in a dark, sparkly cloak at the very beginning of his performance when he sang “Dead Right Now,” he soon ripped off the dark fabric to perform a part of “Montero.” Underneath the loose cloak, he revealed a silver, lacey, one-shoulder crop top.

US TV host, Greg Kelly, sought to criticise the artist’s self-respect and talent after the performance, referring to him as “a little fool with zero talent.” Quite a few artists stepped in to defend him, including Disturbed’s David Draiman.

The Twitter exchange between Greg Kelly and Lil Nas X

Draiman’s response was stern towards Kelly. He wrote: “News flash @gregkellyusa, artists have been doing things like this for decades. Not sure why it bothers you when @LilNasX does it. Don’t like it? Don’t watch. You be you @LilNasX.” The artist, on the other hand, had a more comedic and succinct approach, quote-tweeting Kelly: “damn greg all i did was wear a crop top this time ????.”

Never Afraid to Be Himself

Since Lil Nas X’s claim to fame with the genre-bending country-hip hop hit, “Old Town Road”, he has always been somewhat of a queer icon for this generation. From his genuine manner of speaking to his connection to meme culture,  the artist appears happy to take on the role of doing what feels right, not just for how it looks.

Such authenticity is visible in his music as much as in his wardrobe. While he’s lost the hokey Western vibe in recent years to take on a more produced and polished pop vibe, he maintains his eccentric charm with Montero, his latest album.

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Of course, Montero shows a romantic, intimate side we hadn’t seen with his debut single. It goes to show the multi-faceted nature of the young star, and points to a promising yet road ahead in his flourishing and outspoken career.

It’s All About the Fashion

Lil Nas X’s style moments have reflected his musical career. When he first came on the scene at 20 years old, he took the world by storm with his interpretation of cowboy fashion: matching neon suits with bedazzled boots. Now, as he explores new music genres, he also seems to challenge the prevailing fashion trends as well. Whether he’s sporting chunky black Rick Owens boots or a pastel lavender Atelier Versace gown, mediocrity isn’t exactly in this eccentric musician’s vocabulary.

As daring as his looks may be, he isn’t the first pop star to blaze a trail in the fashion world. Frequenting award ceremonies, nightclubs, and casinos, celebrities have used fashion to reflect their exciting surroundings. Of course, some take certain dress codes more seriously than others, such as Heidi Klum’s Halloween outfits or Paris Hilton’s Las Vegas-ready looks to name some modern examples. In truth, dress codes having changed steadily over time. Take historically fashionable venues, from casinos to opera houses, and you’ll see an evolution over time towards more casual stylings in affluent nightlife apparel, something which has changed drastically since the strict attire of the 17th century. Once the role of the celebrity expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, the dress code transformed along with it.

To link back to the words of David Draiman, “celebrities have been doing this for years.” That’s to say, a few diamonds in the rough always rise to the occasion to challenge the status quo in music, fashion, and lifestyle.

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