Lil Nas X is offering an explanation and apology to those offended by his new song “J CHRIST.”
On Monday (Jan. 15), the 24-year-old rapper shared a sincere video of himself on social media addressing the backlash from the religious-themed artwork and music video for the controversial new single, which includes the pop provocateur portraying Jesus Christ on the crucifix.
“I know I messed up really bad this time. I can act unbothered all I want, but it’s definitely taken a mental toll on me,” Lil Nas X said in the candid Instagram clip. “I’m not some evil demon guy trying to destroy everybody’s values and stuff like that. That’s not me.”
Lil Nas X begins the four-minute video by addressing the artwork and viral marketing push leading up to the release of “J CHRIST.” In one string of TikToks, he joked that he was releasing new gospel music independently. Another Instagram post saw him sharing a fake acceptance letter to Christian college Liberty University (university reps later said that they did not admit him for the fall 2024 semester). The rapper also drew intense criticism for his use of religious iconography, with commentators claiming that he was “mocking” and “disrespecting” Christianity.
“When I did the artwork, I knew there would be some upset people simply because religion is a very sensitive topic for a lot of people,” Lil Nas X said in Monday’s explanation clip. “But I also didn’t mean to mock — this wasn’t a f— you to the Christians. It was literally me saying I’m back like Jesus.”
The singer also apologized for a TikTok video of himself simulating the act of taking communion, where he’s seen taking shots of purple juice while scarfing down crackers in what appears to be a religious setting.
“I know given my history with the [‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’] video, anything that I do related to religion can be seen as mockery,” he said. “That just was not the case with this. I will say, though, with the communion video, with me eating the crackers and juice, I thought that video was going to lighten the mood to take it down less serious. I thought that was something we all wanted to do as kids, but I didn’t understand the idea of the reality of what it is.”
He added, “I didn’t mean it as a cannibalism thing, or whatever the freak. But I do apologize for that. That was overboard. Though I don’t agree with all of Christianity’s rules, I know not everybody follows Christianity by the book 100% or the world would be a lot crazier.”
On Friday (Jan. 12), Lil Nas X shared his much-hyped music video for “J CHRIST,” taking the Biblical title to its furthest extent. The clip opens with a series of celebrity lookalikes — ranging from Taylor Swift to Kanye West — as they climb the stairway to heaven. The Lil Nas-directed video then proceeds to show a series of callbacks to his hellish video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” showing the oft-discussed pole to hell and a demonic Lil Nas X stirring a cauldron of arms and legs. Flying back up to heaven, he reunites with the Devil for a one-on-one basketball game where the rapper dunks the ball and celebrates with a cheerleading routine.
“With the video, there’s not disrespect there,” Lil Nas said in his explanation video. “I thought me clearly not being on the side of the devil in the video was the … I don’t know, there was an understanding there that I’m not trying to diss Christianity.”
He closed the heartfelt video with a positive message to his Christian fans. “I know this isn’t going to be an immediate swift, everybody moves forward. But I do want my Christian fans to know that I am not against you,” the singer said. “I was put on this earth to bring people closer together and promote love. That’s who I am.”
Watch Lil Nas X address the “J Christ” backlash on Instagram below.