Lil Nas X hit the cover of Time magazine to detail his journey from being a college dropout sleeping on his sister’s floor less than a year ago to a chart-topping out and proud rapper.
The Atlanta native came out in late June on the final day of Stonewall Month. The news didn’t threaten his mega-hit “Old Town Road” from falling off the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed there for a record 19 weeks before being dethroned on Monday by Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”
Lil Nas X, 20, told Time that he didn’t plan on coming out because he grew up being taught that homosexuality “is never going to be OK” and he feared he would lose fans.
But then Stonewall Month happened.
“I never would have done that if I wasn’t in a way pushed by the universe,” he says. “In June, I’m seeing Pride flags everywhere and seeing couples holding hands – little stuff like that.”
He came out to his father and sister in early June, and then to the world a few weeks later.
The rapper broke barriers as a black queer man doing rap and country music, according to Billy Ray Cyrus, his duet partner on one of the “Old Town Road” remixes.
“A lot of walls were taken down by this song,” Cyrus says. “I think a lot of artists out there can look at this and say, ‘Hey man, this is a green light.'”