Lil Nas X has been called out for copying FKA Twigs “frame by frame,” in the video for his latest single, Montero (Call Me By Your Name).
The director for FKA Twigs‘ Cellophane music video, Andrew Thomas Huang, took to social media this week to highlight the “frame by frame” similarities in Montero that seemingly rip off his collaboration with Twigs.
Huang first called out the similarities over the weekend following Montero’s release, posting a side-by-side TikTok of both videos with the caption: “@lilnasx take me off your mood board or hire me”.
Despite having been out for less than 48 hours, Nas has already drawn criticism and praise for the video, which features the 21-year-old UK rapper pole-dancing down to hell, before giving a lap-dance to the devil himself.
However, this is where the similarities come in. Namely, that both videos feature the artists twirling, dancing and descending from the sky into darkness. While the themes in both aren’t the same, these aspects seem to mirror each other visually.
In a since-expired Instagram story, Huang also pointed out that Lil Nas X’s label, Columbia Records, had previously reached out to him, before the label “pivoted away” and hired the same choreographer who worked on Cellophane, Kelly Yvonne.
“Consider the power you wield and the artists you harm when you capitalize on our blood sweat tears and emotional labor,” Huang wrote, tagging Lil Nas X, Columbia Records and Tanu Muino, who co-directed Montero alongside Nas.
“There’s no winning when this happens.”
@Andrew_T_Huang and @FKAtwigs created a visual masterpiece. twigs trained for YEARS for this, and collaborated with andrew to tell a vulnerable story that projected the song’s message. & that’s why ‘cellophane’ is so special. https://t.co/ayiAKF2o9W
— ✩ cₕᵣᵢₛₜᵢₐₙ ∗. (@lostwig) March 27, 2021
To rub salt into the wound, Cellophane also lost the Grammy for Best Music video to Nas’s Old Town Road in 2020.
Later on March 28, Huang elaborated further in a Twitter thread, saying that while he’s a fan of Lil Nas’ work, and believes in creative collaboration within music, the thin line between ‘appreciation’ and ‘copying’ can inadvertently harm other artists if it becomes too blurred.
“I’m a fan of @LilNasX. ‘Old Town Road’ is iconic,” Huang said.
“Sharing collaborators is common. Seeing the ‘Cellophane’ choreographer collab with Lil Nas X is awesome (love a Satan dance). Sharing aesthetics and paying homage is part of the creative process. Collective consciousness exists.
“Years of work went into the creation of ‘Cellophane’, from physical training to the emotional labor of unpacking Twigs’ life to construct images told her story of trauma and recovery. ‘Cellophane’ was a confession in the most vulnerable sense.
so fka twigs loses the grammy she should’ve gotten for the cellophane mv to lil nas x and then lil nas x turns around and steals a lot of the concepts from the cellophane mv for his own mv… pic.twitter.com/uRp23HwCUc
— kailey (@fallingforshame) March 26, 2021
“When an artist is in a position of power (amplified with the help of major record labels, social media, PR, etc) and repurposes someone’s labor and ideas to serve their brand image, they cause harm by displacing the efforts of the artists who did the original leg work.
“Intentional or not, copying other artists’ work happens.
“Making music videos is a labor of love. The demand for content pushed by major labels renders our work disposable and pits artists against each other.”
“FKA twigs did not invent pole dancing”
No shit sherlock, now make this make sense pic.twitter.com/ZorScaIH0K
— anna (@matidiopforever) March 26, 2021
Montero has also unsurprisingly drawn a string of controversy from right-wing punters and political commentators for its use of religious imagery, both biblical and Greek.
Nike has also joined the mix of backlash after filing a federal trademark infringement lawsuit on Monday, after the artist released modified Nike Air Max 97’s with internet collective MSCHF.
The devilish shoes in question were decorated with a pentagram pendant and contained a drop of human blood inside the sole, drawn from the MSCHF team members.