If Lil Nas X hasn’t done more than enough to solidify his position as the king of expertly choreographed, provocative music videos, his latest release “INDUSTRY BABY” featuring Jack Harlow certainly will.
The music video opens with a scene of Lil Nas X getting sentenced to prison in a trial. The scene is an allusion to an earlier YouTube promotion in which the artist satirized his copyright infringement trial with Nike.
The video for “INDUSTRY BABY” is chaotic, NSFW and an all-around compelling viewing experience. The visual begins as Lil Nas X is working out inside a prison cell. After he spends a moment polishing his two Grammys and adjusting his framed platinum certifications, the scene transitions to a group dance in the prison showers.
Afterward, he and Harlow break out of the prison together using a hammer smuggled inside of a meditation book. During the ensuing chaos, we see another group dance in the prison yard, Harlow getting put into an electric chair and a scene of the pair doing donuts with a police cruiser.
Like every Lil Nas X song to date, “INDUSTRY BABY” is intense enough to be played in a club but anthemic enough to harness a deeper meaning. Prior to releasing the song, the artist posted a letter to his 20-year-old self via Twitter.
“Dear 20 year old montero,” the letter begins, “I wrote a song for us. i know sometimes you feel like it’s all downhill from here. I know your sexuality has made you feel like an outcast amongst your peers. I know going from having the biggest song in the world to being trapped in your apartment is weighing heavy on you. and i know if you hear the phrase “one hit wonder” one more time you might combust.
“But i need you to keep going,” the artist continues. “i need you to realize that you have the opportunity to be the person that you needed growing up. i need you to stop feeling sorry for yourself. and i need you to remember that the only person who has to believe in YOU is YOU.”
“INDUSTRY BABY” 🏆
TOMORROW NIGHT! pic.twitter.com/WhGh3Sk72C
— nope 👶🏾 (@LilNasX) July 22, 2021
Prior to the release of “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” the artist wrote a similar note to himself at age 14 about coming out. There, the artist spoke to his coming out process. He also said it was necessary to open doors for people in a similar situation.
Further establishing his values, the artist has also shared his intention of using the video as a fundraiser for a timely and important issue—The Bail Project. Working with organizations around the United States, the organization seeks to eliminate cash bail, which disproportionately affects people of color and further drives the mass incarceration epidemic.
Lil Nas X says that although music is his preferred channel of liberation, true freedom requires systemic changes.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation,” his statement for the fundraiser reads. “But true freedom requires change in how the criminal justice system works, starting with cash bail. I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family, and I know the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on Black Americans. There are so many stories that call on us to take action, and I invite you to join me in this important civil rights issue.”
Lil Nas X uses his prison themed “Industry Baby” video as a fundraiser for the Bail Project which is a nonprofit that combatting mass incarceration. pic.twitter.com/krdczzr2Tf
— Rap Alert (@rapalert4) July 23, 2021
You can donate to The Bail Project here and find other resources below.
What do you think of the new video for “INDUSTRY BABY”? Watch the video below, then let us know your thoughts in the comments!
To show support through donations, connect with grassroots campaigns and obtain resources for allies, please refer to the links below.
Help the family of George Floyd here.
Fight for Breonna Taylor here.
Help the family of Ahmaud Arbery here.
To sign petitions for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more, click here.
Donate to one or more community bail funds for protesters here.
Click here for more resources for protestors, including pro-bono lawyers.
Click here to connect with leaders building grassroots campaigns.
Here are some anti-racism resources for allies who want to learn more.
For other ways to donate, please head here.
If you or someone you know is seeking help as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, please consider these resources:
Human Rights Campaign (Resources for coming out, allies and more)
Bisexual.org (Resources for the bisexual community)
Bisexual Resource Center
GLSEN (Education organization working to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression)
LGBTQ Student Resources & Support
The Trevor Project (A confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth)
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (A nonprofit organization defending the rights guaranteed to all citizens)