Lil Nas X may be able to handle bad faith homophobic attacks with ease, but what about legitimate criticism from other artists?
The pop star made a huge splash with his new music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name), a boundary-breaking, sinfully fun visual that has been getting praise and hate in equal measure. The latter came mostly from right-wing pundits stirring up Satanic panic, and we all enjoyed watching Nas put them in their place on Twitter. But this latest concern about the video is a little more complicated.
After the music video dropped, fans noticed that a certain section of the video bore a VERY striking resemblance to FKA twigs’ video for her heart-wrenching single, cellophane. Both feature a winged creature approaching the artist from above before they begin a pole-dancing descent to “hell.” You can see the similarities for yourself (below):
I think @LilNasX took one too many notes from @Andrew_T_Huang and @FKAtwigs in their new MV. Here is a side by side clip of Cellophane and Montero. You be the judge.#LILNASX #fkatwigs pic.twitter.com/lroBsJxub8
— Arthur Tam (@ArthurityTam) March 27, 2021
To make matters even more interesting, the cellophane vid was nominated for a Grammy Award… the year that Lil Nas’s Old Town Road (Remix) took home that trophy.
Fans weren’t the only ones side-eyeing this situation. The director of the cellophane video, Andrew Thomas Huang, spoke out about it in an Instagram Story (below), saying he’d “been copied before but this feels different.” He even claimed to have been approached by the 21-year-old’s team before they “pivoted away” — while still hiring the same choreographer that did cellophane, Kelly Yvonne.
The director of FKA twigs’s “Cellophane” video speaks out amidst Lil Nas X's “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” video controversy. pic.twitter.com/5nRhxPjv2V
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 28, 2021
As the evidence began piling up, the singer (real name Montero Lamar Hill) addressed the controversy on IG, revealing that Robert Pattinson’s ex had reached out to him personally to discuss it. He wrote:
“i want to show love to @fkatwigs & @andrewthomashuang ! 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 u 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.”
On her end, twigs graciously accepted this not-really-an-apology and praised Lil Nas. She posted:
“thank you @lilnasx for our gentle honest conversations and for acknowledging the inspiration cellophane gave you and your creative team in creating your iconic video! 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. i want to thank @andrewthomashuang and @kelyvon for helping me create cellophane but also and most importantly i would like to thank sex workers and strippers for providing the physical language to make both videos possible. i have been working with @swarmhive to help support this community and i know all donations to the swarm hardship fund will be welcome during this difficult time. link in bio x”
We’re VERY glad this got settled respectfully. However, we can’t help but find Nas’ explanation a tiny bit sus. He deflected the blame onto his “visual effects” team and claimed he was unaware of the similarities of the two videos. Yet in his own words, he wrote the treatment for the Montero visual (below). Could he really have been unaware of how closely his concept resembled the video he beat out for a Grammy, when he used the same choreographer and allegedly approached the same director?
lmaoo just thought about how i used a frame from spongebob when i was writing the treatment for the video pic.twitter.com/EtaaC6ANIo
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
What do U think, Perezcious reader? Is there more to this story than meets the eye regarding Nas’ involvement in the plagiarism? Or should we all drop it now that the artists have made peace? Let us know your thoughts in the comments (below)!
[Image via FKA twigs/Lil Nas X/YouTube]