The Devil Wears…Nike?
They’re Not Air Jordans!
Lil Nas X, the same performer who did a dance off against Sam Elliot to ‘Old Town Road’ in the Super Bowl Doritos commercial, designed “Satan Shoes” which claim to have real human blood in the soles of the shoes.
The shoes sporting a bronze pentagram along with an inverted cross sold-out instantaneously.
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The black and red sneakers, part of a collaboration between Lil Nas X and New York-based art collective MSCHF, were made using Nike Air Max 97s, though the sportswear brand has distanced itself from the design.
MSCHF confirmed via email March 29 that the limited-edition “drop” of 666 pairs sold out in less than a minute (though Lil Nas X will keep the first pair, MSCHF creative director Kevin Wiesner told CNN).
They were priced at $1,018 a pair, a reference to the Bible passage Luke 10:18 that reads: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven.” Each shoe’s air bubble sole contains 60 cubic centimeters (2.03 fluid ounces) of red ink and “one drop” of human blood, according to MSCHF.
This publicity stunt comes on the heels of his newly released music video “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)“. During one over-the-top scene, he rides a stripper pole down to Hell and gives Satan a lap dance.
People Magazine explains:
Filled with biblical references, the video begins with the artist being seduced by the snake in the Garden of Eden. He’s then put on trial and subsequently stoned to death (but not with stones) before he ascends to Heaven. His trip is cut short, as he rides a pole down to Hell, where he gives Satan a now-infamous lap dance in patent leather thigh-high stilettos.
Before dropping the music video, Lil Nas X penned a letter to his 14-year-old self, writing in part, “This will open doors for so many other queer people to simply exist.”
The Devil (Didn’t) Make Him Do It.
Lil Nas X echoed Charles Barkley in his steadfast defense of his perverse performance:
there was no system involved. i made the decision to create the music video. i am an adult. i am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. that is your job. https://t.co/SzjjYe2tf4
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 27, 2021
But Nike, has not been as upfront with their mea culpa. Now, the delayed backlash is quickly turning into a huge PR storm.
NBC News provides the details:
Nike filed the suit — Lil Nas X was not named as a defendant — after many people said they believed it was involved with the shoes, even though it released a statement over the weekend saying it had nothing to do with them.
The lawsuit argues that Nike must maintain control over its brand “by setting the record straight” about what products bear its distinctive “swoosh” logo.
In a statement after the complaint was filed, Nike reiterated that it is in no way affiliated with the Satan Shoes.
Lil Nas X posted a series of faux apologies:
— nope 🏹 (@LilNasX) March 29, 2021
Esquire approvingly remarks:
He didn’t apologize for any of it.
Actually, Lil Nas X has spent the majority of the weekend doing what he does best: trolling his critics online.
After the explosive Friday release of the “Montero” music video, the internet has been set ablaze by two factions: fans praising the video. and detractors who are aghast (aghast, I say!) at what they’ve seen come from the young rapper. The video and subsequent rumor of “blood sneakers” has caught the ire of the conservative set, making them question if Lil Nas X is appropriate for children.
Of course the video, which references the 2017 film about two young men who fall in love, is a statement on the singer’s sexuality. The rapper unabashedly embraces his queerness, telling a story equal parts demonic, erotic, and brazen.
Clearly not heeding the message of the note, people got in his business. The video has drawn the attention of the likes of Candace Owens, the governor of South Dakota, and that wannabe blonde conservative influencer who carries a gun around all the time.
We’ve Seen All This Before.
Let’s be honest…all of this is nothing new. Here are a few examples:
- British occultist Aleister Crowley and magician Harry Houdini were pushing the perceived barriers of Good and Evil during the early half of the 20th century.
- In the 1950s Rock N’ Roll was called “The Devil’s Music.”
- Elvis Presley and Little Richard’s stirred up teens with their gyrating hips.
- Many alleged that Satanic messages could be heard when playing vinyl records backwards.
- Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat at a 1982 Des Moines concert.
- Ronnie James Dio created a generational fad with the iconic devil’s horns.
- The AC/DC anthem about “party time” on the Highway To Hell.
- INXS shot to the top of music charts in the late 1980s with the Devil Inside.
- Madonna stirred up similar outrage with her book SEX that came out around the same time in the early 1990s as her equally controversial music videos Justify My Love and Like A Prayer.
- Sisqo caused a rage with his Thong Song in 2000.
- Recently former Disney tween Demi Lovato has released a song and TV-documentary both titled Dancing With The Devil.
- Earlier this month Greek entertainer Elena Tsagrinou has caused her own controversy around the Mediterranean from critics claiming her dance song El Diablo praises the Devil.
This is no different, and like all of the others this too will pass into pop culture trivia.
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