The announcement of rapper Lil Nas X’s limited edition “Satan Sneakers” has created a media firestorm, which was the most obvious goal of the campaign. After all, how much money can be made from a run of 666 sneakers, all allegedly featuring a drop of human blood? Yet there are practical takeaways from this publicity stunt.
First, while the sneakers will be here today and gone tomorrow, we must not underestimate Lil Nas X’s influence on children in general. Rather, as reported by NPR on Jan. 5, children are his “core audience right now,” and by children, NPR meant little children.
I’m talking about children who watch “Sesame Street.” (Check out this video of the rapper appearing on “Sesame Street” and performing with the Muppets.) I’m talking about elementary school children.
The NPR article references “a surprise show Lil Nas X did at Lander Elementary school in Ohio in 2019. In footage from that day, the rapper enters a gym full of children who start screaming at the top of their lungs. Some grasp their heads in disbelief. Others just jump up and down. Some are so overwhelmed they just stand there slack-jawed.” Yes, little children, in awe of Lil Nas X.
His Grammy-winning song, “Old Town Road,” has been a massive hit with “the elementary school set.” Yet, as he boasted in a tweet, “i literally sing about lean & adultery in old town road.