After breaking the record for most consecutive weeks atop the Billboard’s Hot 100 (“Old Town Road” is now on its 19th week), Lil Nas X’s latest career milestone is scoring the cover of TIME Magazine. He’s seen on the cover dressed in a red suit and cowboy hat to match the mag’s classic red border.
The profile focuses on the fascinating phenomenon of Lil Nas X’s massive success despite being an “outlier” in various categories. “There aren’t many black stars in country music; there aren’t many queer stars in hip-hop. There aren’t many queer black stars in American culture, point-blank,” Andrew R. Chow writes.
When discussing his queer identity, the 20-year-old artist shared that when he was originally plotting his rise, he didn’t imagine that he would publicly reveal his homosexuality.
“I never would have done that if I wasn’t in a way pushed by the universe,” he says. “In June, I’m seeing Pride flags everywhere and seeing couples holding hands–little stuff like that.” Lil Nas X only came out to his father and sister a few weeks prior to making his global announcement in June. He attributed his hesitation to being led to believe from a young age that homosexuality “is never going to be O.K.”, and thinking that his sexual orientation would cost him fans: “I know the people who listen to this the most, and they’re not accepting of homosexuality.”
In the interview, Lil Nas X also revealed that, after “Panini”, the Cardi B-featuring “Rodeo” will be the next single, and also that he has been working with Pharrell.