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Lil Nas X took his adorable self to The Ellen Degeneres Show on Monday to talk coming out, his family, and his relationship status.
In 1997, Ellen Degeneres came out as a lesbian on the cover of People magazine and her hit sitcom Ellen, in which her eponymous character also stepped out of the closet. Twenty two years after that defining cultural moment, Lil Nas X has been able to build on that legacy by coming out while "Old Town Road," his first number-one hit, sat atop the Billboard charts. It shows how far things have come for LGBTQ+ people in two decades.
As trailblazers for queer women and Black gay men in entertainment, the two of them had a lot to talk about -- to say the least.
Degeneres applauded the singer for embracing his sexuality just as he's becoming majorly successful. "I can't tell you how much I admire you, because most people are fearful of [coming out], because they think it's going to affect their career," she said. "And here you are at the height of your brand new career -- brand new -- and you decide to come out!"
When Degeneres asked if people had known Lil Nas X was gay before his public coming out, he responded that he told his father and sister shortly before opening up about his sexuality in a series of tweets. "The same month I came out I told them pretty much," the rapper and singer laughed, "I guess to give them, like, a heads up."
However, the disclosure doesn't appear to have impacted his relationship with his family or his burgeoning career. His first single to be released since coming out, "Panini," just reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts this week.
But even as Lil Nas X reaches new heights for Black gay men in hip-hop, there was another piece of news Degeneres was after: whether he's boo'd up.
"Are you in a relationship right now?" the talk show asked. Lil Nas X neither denied nor confirmed that he was seeing anyone at the moment but teased the audience with the possibility. "Somewhat, somewhat," he replied with a huge smile on his face.
Degeneres responded that there's no reason someone wouldn't try to lock that down. "You're very good-looking," she said. "Thank you!" Lil Nas X responded. "You are too, Ellen."
"And yet we're not right for each other," the comedian joked.
When Degeneres tried asking the rapper about how it felt to navigate his personal life in the public eye, the conversation got temporarily derailed. Lil Nas X noticed a human-sized box between their two chairs and asked if someone was going to scare him (a common trope of the show). As soon as Degeneres assured him no one was, a long-haired, cowboy-hatted "Billy Ray Cyrus" popped out, causing the singer to scream and cover his face.
After that moment of levity, Degeneres wanted to get serious. Returning to the subject of Lil Nas X's coming out, she said: "This is really, I think, such an admirable thing to do."
Lil Nas X responded that he was privileged to able to be honest about who he is.
"I was not in a position where I had to worry about my family and friends, how they would react," he said. "In the past year, I'm in a new level, so it's like it doesn't really matter."
That's not the only reason. Despite being just 20 years old himself, the musician said he did it to help LGBTQ+ youth who might also be struggling with their sexuality or how to tell their family and friends. He said he thought about "how it would be good for [young people] who are listening to me right now who are going to have to go through stuff like this in the future."
Yeehaw to that.
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