In a video posted Monday, Lil Nas X addressed the uproar over his new single, “J Christ,” explaining his thinking about the project and apologizing for certain aspects of the video.
Released Thursday night, the video for the song draws inspiration from religious motifs and art and among other things includes the star portraying Jesus Christ and beating Satan in a 1 on 1 basketball game. Nevertheless, reaction to the (excellent) song has been overshadowed by criticism from people claiming various religious affiliations, who accused the rapper and singer of mocking Christianity.
“I know I messed up really bad this time,” the rapper said in the video. “I can act unbothered all I want but it’s definitely like taking a mental toll on me.”
“So first of all, when I did the artwork I knew there would be some upset people,” Lil Nas X said. “Simply because religion is a very sensitive topic for a lot of people.”
“This wasn’t a f—k you to people, f—k you to the Christians. It wasn’t that, it was literally me saying, ‘Oh I’m back like Jesus,’” the rapper continued. “I’m not the first person to dress up as Jesus. I’m not the first rapper, I’m not the first artist and I won’t be the last.”
Lil Nas X acknowledged his previous controversies, specifically referencing the backlash to his “Call me by your Name” music video. “Anything that I do related to religion can be seen as mockery. That just was not the case with this,” the rapper added.
The rapper additionally apologized for a TikTok video in which he was simulating taking communion.
“I thought that video was going to lighten the mood, to take it down like less serious,” Lil Nas X said. “I did not mean it as like a cannibalism thing or whatever the freak but I do apologize for that. I will say I’m sorry for that, that was overboard.”
“I do want my Christian fans to know that I am not against you,” the rapper said. “I was put on this earth to you know, bring people closer together and promote love and that’s who I am. I’m not like some evil demon guy trying to destroy everybody’s values and stuff like that. That’s not me.”
Lil Nas X concluded the video by sending love to his fans and to those “who I hurt.”