Lord of Hell and homophobes’ worst fucking nightmare Lil Nas X turned heads at yesterday’s BET Awards in an ensemble that may have had references to characters from Naruto.
The rapper, long may he reign over the sulphuric halls of Satan, appeared on the red carpet wearing an outfit created by designer Andrea Grossi. At first glance, the corset top and skirt-like bottom flanked by huge, voluminous panniers (or side hoops) would send even Marie Antoinette into a cake-fueled rage. But upon closer inspection, one can see that some of the faces and characters on the blue and white skirt look like they came straight out of Konoha. In the upper right section of the skirt, there’s a pierced face that looks like Naruto villain Pain, and, just slightly below the face, there are a number of characters dressed in robes that resemble the black and red cloud robes of Akatsuki members.
The skirt is a part of Grossi’s Welcome to DeusLand collection. Grossi describes the collection as something, “that talks about a future society and the future of human being [sic].” Another description of the collection says, “In Deusland man approaches being “God”; he creates himself and what surrounds him.” Kotaku reached out to Grossi for comment on whether or not the resemblance was intentional.
I’ll admit to leaving Naruto behind after that noodle-making episode, but I know enough lore to realize that the whole ‘man approaches being a God’ thing sounds like something right up Pain’s alley. Pain, real name Nagato, was a ninja who wanted to bring peace to the world through immense suffering. After overthrowing his village’s leader, the citizens took to worshipping Pain as a god because of his seemingly unfathomable power. The skirt’s possible allusions to Akatsuki also fit in with the collection’s theme since many of Aktatsuki’s ninjas also thought they were (or could become) gods because of their “shonen anime villain power creep” ninja powers. It’s a shonen anime y’all, you’re not doing it right if the villain doesn’t have godly delusions of grandeur.
What’s not a delusion was Lil Nas X’s sheer power wearing that outfit. The “Call Me By Your Name” superstar exuded Black, queer confidence, delighting fans and upsetting haters alike.