By this point, it’s well known that every time Lil Nas X tweets, an angel gets his wings. Rather, a cowboy gets his chaps?
Just now, in what is almost certainly yet another instance of Nas trolling us, the “Industry Baby” singer-songwriter proclaimed that after his debut album “Montero” drops, he will be done with his “gay era” and resume his “cowboy era.”
after i drop the album i will be finish with my gay era and returning to my cowboy era
— nope 👶🏾 (@LilNasX) August 6, 2021
One of the first responses to the tweet captured our feelings perfectly: “you know you can do both, right?”
You know you can do BOTH, right? 👀
— Alexandria (@water_art_works) August 6, 2021
Yes, Lil Nas X knows he can do both. And he most likely will in the future, when the very first Lil Nas X Country album—replete with a fantasy Dolly Parton/Nas duet—drops and wins every last Grammy there is.
Even though Nas is trolling us (as he loves to do,) there’s something interesting to this tweet. Nas knows that Black queer cowboys exist and have existed since the earliest days of the West. And he knows that his greatest detractors are definitely, foolishly unaware of that history.
According to a Smithsonian article from 2017, one in four cowboys in the Old West was Black. According to another source from the University of Washington, queerness was also part of the equation, more often than we might imagine.
“Working cowhands in the 19th century were often working-class men of color,” writes scholar Rebecca Scofield. “Influenced by the mounted herding traditions of Mexican vaqueros, American cowboy culture emerged along the cattle trails of former slave states. Enslaved and free black men, alongside Native, Creole, and Mexican people, made up a significant portion of the cattle industry both before and after the Civil War.”
And they got down and dirty with each other quite often. In 1985, Black cowboys even formed the International Gay Rodeo Association to create a place where they could hang out, rope steer, and perform a kind of butchness they hadn’t been able to publically claim before in the same way.
So yeah, Lil Nas X should bring back his “cowboy era.” As long as it stays super gay, that is.