UPDATE: Hours after our initial story ran, Lil Nas X took to Instagram to say that he and FKA twigs spoke on the phone about the similarities between "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" and "Cellophane."
"I want to show love to FKA twigs and Andrew Thomas Huang!" he wrote. "The 'Cellophane' visual is a masterpiece. I was not aware that the visual would serve as a major inspiration for those who worked on the effects of my video. I want to say thank you to twigs for calling me and informing me about the similarities between the two videos, as I was not aware they were so close. Was only excited for the video to come out. I understand how hard you worked to bring this visual to life. You deserve so much more love and praise."
Shortly after Nas X's post went up, twigs posted one of her own.
"Thank you Lil Nas X for our gentle honest conversations and for acknowledging the inspiration 'Cellophane' gave you and your creative team in creating your iconic video!" she wrote. "I think what you have done is amazing and I fully support your expression and bravery in pushing culture forward for the queer community. Legend status."
ORIGINAL: It's day five and Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" music video and track are still the talk of the town. Conservatives are frothing at the mouth over the star's project and he's dunking on them into oblivion. But, elsewhere it seems that Nas X has responded in part to concerns around his inspiration.
When the music video debuted, there were some early call outs around similarities between the 21-year-old's pole dancing sequence and one from FKA twigs' "Cellophane." People initially called it an homage. Then Andrew Thomas Huang, the director of "Cellophane," spoke out saying that he was initially contacted to work on Nas's project.
"There's no winning when this happens," Huang wrote on an Instagram stories post. "Been copied before but this feels different."
"Consider the power you wield and the artists you harm when you capitalize on our blood, sweat, tears, and emotional labor," he continued later.
Now, Nas X is acknowledging the role "Cellophane" played, in a new interview with Time magazine.
“I wanted to see some things people have done in music videos with the pole—and I felt like twigs did a really amazing job at that,” Lil Nas X said. He also points to Spongebob Squarepants as a cultural touch point. “I wanted to do my own take on it.” But Huang had more to say.
“It put into perspective how small, indie artists like me and twigs don’t really don’t make a lot of money, and our platform is limited because we’re trying hard to make challenging work,” he told the publication. “When someone who is commercially successful makes work that lives so similarly next to ours and profits from it on such a massive scale, then I felt like I had to speak up.” He said that he was excited to work on the project when he was first approached but disappointed with the result. But, for him Nas isn't the only one here to shoulder blame.
“I think twigs and Lil Nas are both doing important work. The question is, who benefits from their work? The answer is record labels,” Huang said. “The anger it stokes between artists just increases divisions between underrepresented artists. So I think there’s something larger and systemic here at work.”
Time notes that Nas X representatives did not respond or make the artist available for follow-up questions.