Lil Nas X is dancing with the devil (both literally and figuratively) after the release of his fiery “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” music video and limited edition “Satan Shoes,” Sportico sister publication Variety reports.
The hip-hop superstar who broke records with his country-infused hit Old Town Road is stirring controversy after promoting his new sneakers, a collaboration with MSCHF, which feature Satanic imagery, a Bible verse and a drop of real human blood.
The shoes were made using Nike Air Max 97s, but the sportswear giant has said they do not endorse them, filing a lawsuit against MSCHF for trademark infringement. Nike claims that the “unauthorized” sneaker has caused confusion amongst customers, many of whom believe that the company is promoting Satanism.
“Nike files this lawsuit to maintain control of its brand, to protect its intellectual property, and to clear the confusion and dilution in the marketplace by setting the record straight—Nike has not and does not approve or authorize MSCHF’s customized Satan Shoes,” the suit reads.
The red and black kicks include a pentagram, the “Devil’s Star,” and an inscription of “Luke 10:18,” the Bible passage that reads, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” The air bubble at the sole of the shoe contains about two fluid ounces of red ink and a drop of human blood, supplied by people who work at MSCHF. The packaging includes drawings of the Devil walking up to Jesus. All 666 pairs of the rapper’s Satan Shoes, listed at $1,018, sold out in under a minute.
“People already demonize who I am,” Lil Nas X said in a new interview with Complex. “I’m gonna make the best of it.”
Immediately after news broke of the hell-raising sneakers, several prominent politicians, religious figures and celebrities voiced concern and outrage.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem wrote on Twitter, “We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win.”
Rapper Joyner Lucas raised concern about Lil Nas X’s young fanbase being exposed to the controversial music video and shoes.
Pro basketball player Nick Young also took to Twitter, writing, “My kids will never play Old Town Road again,” and saying that he is “debating about wearing Nike.”
Lil Nas X has fought back, defending his music and sneaker release as art and calling people out for hypocrisy in their anger. See the artist’s tweets below: