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Lil Nas X is one of GQ's Men of the Year

The Grammy-winning rapper joins “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland and NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo as the magazine’s 2021 Men of the Year cover stars.
Lil Nas X attends the 10th annual LACMA Art and Film Gala at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Nov. 6, 2021.
Lil Nas X attends the 10th annual LACMA Art and Film Gala at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Nov. 6, 2021.Rich Fury / Getty Images for LACMA

Queer icon Lil Nas X is adding yet another milestone to his impressive résumé: GQ cover model. 

The Grammy-winning “Old Town Road” singer will grace one of the magazine’s three Men of the Year covers, with “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland and NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo appearing on the others. GQ unveiled all three covers Monday. 

In an article published on GQ’s website Monday, Lil Nas X, who came out as gay in 2019, spoke about how rap is evolving when it comes to LGBTQ issues and queer entertainers. 

“I do feel like this newer generation of rappers who are coming in, and the ones who are here, are going to have to reshape their thoughts. Because change is happening,” he told the magazine. “There’s going to be so many gay rappers. There’s going to be more trans people in the industry and whatnot. Ten years from now, everything that I’m doing won’t even seem like it was shocking.”

Lil Nas X, whose off-stage name is Montero Lamar Hill, rose to fame with the release of his 2019 country rap single “Old Town Road,’’ featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. The song achieved the Recording Industry Association of America’s diamond certification and reached 14-times platinum status in the U.S., the most for a single in the association’s history.

That same year, on the last day of Pride Month in June, Lil Nas X came out publicly in a tweet. Two years later, the music star shared a letter he wrote to his younger self about coming out as gay, writing, “I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.”

Since rising to stardom two years ago, the rapper has remained in the spotlight, seemingly breaking the internet with this queer-themed music videos and bold lyrics. His debut album, “Montero," which he released in September, opened at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, following Drake's "Certified Lover Boy."

Anthony Allen Ramos, the head of talent at GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization, said Lil Nas X’s impact has gone far beyond the music industry. 

“Through his art and advocacy, Lil Nas X has made a profound impact on both the music industry and culture at large in 2021, making him more than deserving of the cover of GQ’s ‘Men of the Year’ issue,” Ramos told NBC News in a statement Monday. “At a time when Black LGBTQ men still remain largely underrepresented in mainstream media, Lil Nas X continues to be celebrated for blazing new trails for LGBTQ inclusion in rap and hip-hop, while bringing necessary attention to key issues, including the stigma facing people living with HIV.” 

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