MEXICO CITY, Nov 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Country rapper Lil Nas X on Wednesday became the first openly gay rap artist to be nominated in top categories at the Grammy Awards, the highest honours in the music industry.
The 20-year-old rapper, who came out as gay in June, scored nods in the biggest awards categories: album and record of the year, as well as best new artist.
Lil Nas X has already made music history this year, becoming the first openly gay man to receive a Country Music Association award in a genre known for its conservatism.
Born Montero Lamar Hill, the rap star divulged his sexuality on social media in Pride month, becoming the first musical artist across genres to come out as gay while at No. 1.
Lil Nas X later said he had feared a backlash, particularly given his country-music fan base.
“I know the people who listen to this the most, and they’re not accepting of homosexuality,” he told TIME magazine.
While an increasing number of stars have come out in recent years, country music is often associated with Christianity and conservative views on gender roles and sexuality.
In total, Lil Nas X received six nominations, tied with singer Billie Eilish and just behind rapper Lizzo, who led the field with eight nominations.
In 2015, openly gay British singer Sam Smith became the first out artist to win a Grammy for best pop vocal album.
U.S. rapper Frank Ocean, who says he has dated men and women, was nominated for best new album, record of the year and best new artist in 2013.
The Grammy Awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on Jan. 26 in a ceremony hosted by Alicia Keys. (Reporting by Oscar Lopez @oscarlopezgib; editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)