Rapper Lil Nas X has stirred controversy after launching a pair of sneakers that contain a drop of human blood.
As part of a collaboration between Lil Nas X and New York-based art collective MSCHEF, the black and red Nike Air Max 97s feature an inverted cross and an air bubble filled with red ink and one drop of human blood. Because why wouldn’t you want to walk around donning a pair of shoes incorporating a stranger’s blood?
In a statement, Nike said it played no part in the collaboration, and does not endorse the sneakers.
“We do not have a relationship with Lil Nas or MSCHF. Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”
On Monday, MSCHF confirmed that the limited-edition sneakers sold out in less than a minute. They were priced at $1,018 a pair, a reference to the Bible passage Luke 10:18, which reads “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.
It didn’t take long for backlash to occur, including criticism from political and religious figures, such as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the evangelical pastor Mark Burns, which led to the term ‘Satanic Panic’ trending on Twitter.
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“Our kids are being told that this kind of product is, not only okay, it’s “exclusive.” But do you know what’s more exclusive? Their God-given eternal soul. 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,” Noem wrote on her Twitter.
It didn’t take long for Lil Nas X to respond, clapping back with: “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!”
In addition, social media was ablaze with criticism over Lil Nas X’s new music video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name,” in which the rapper is seen giving a lap dance to a character resembling the devil. Once the video is over, the rapper snaps the devil’s neck, and assumes its horned crown for himself.
Many on the cultural right argued the video was sacrilegious, while others praised it as conceptual art.
After the video was released, Lil Nas X explained the concept behind the video.
“I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the s*** y’all preached would happen to me because i was gay,” he wrote. “So i hope u are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.”