When Lil Nas X first burst on the scene with viral hit country rap song ‘Old Town Road’, he was met with equal parts adoration and judgement. Firstly there aren’t many queer singers in the rap game, and secondly, there aren’t many black stars in country music…
These last few years of Lil Nas X’ rising success has proved he’s not only breaking records, he’s breaking boundaries. Not only has he achieved stardom with his new movement of music since coined ‘country-trap’, by merging hip hop with country music (a genre often associated with white conservatism) but Lil Nas X has also paved the way for courageous self-expression.
The young queer black man is now fronting fashion house Coach’s ‘Courage to Be Real’ campaign, a call to action that embraces all aspects of who you are with confidence. Inspiring others to express themselves authentically, the Courage to Be Real campaign film and photography by Petra Collins tells the story of Lil Nas X’s courageous evolution to become the person he is today, and the obstacles he overcame along the journey. “My whole career has been about breaking down doors, and this campaign represents everything I’ve overcome so far,” said Lil Nas X. “It’s about walking into new chapters of life, new experiences and new versions of myself, and it’s rooted in authenticity and self-expression—two things I really care about. It was really fun collaborating with Stuart and Petra to bring this to life.”
Set in a dream-like world informed by Collins’ and Coach’s shared vision of American pop culture, through the lens of the next generation, the film follows Lil Nas X through rooms that represent key moments in his personal journey - from his early days in the Atlanta suburbs, to achieving fame through music, to becoming the multi-hyphenate superstar he is today. “My vision for Coach has always been to create a fashion world where people feel free to express themselves as they are,” said Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers. “To bring this vision to life, I was thrilled to bring Lil Nas X and Petra Collins together with Coach for the first time—two artists who have changed the world around them by being themselves. The film we created together is a new form of storytelling that not only feels unexpected and different for us, it helps to create a community around the values we share with the next generation.”