Lil Nas X Becomes the First Openly Gay Performer to Win at the CMA Awards
Lil Nas X is making history!
On Wednesday, the rapper became the first openly gay performer to win at the Country Music Association Awards, according to Out magazine. Lil Nas X and his collaborator Billy Ray Cyrus won the award for musical event of the year for their remix of Lil Nas X’s hit song “Old Town Road.”
Reuters previously reported in August that the 20-year-old was also the first openly gay performer to receive a CMA Awards nomination.
However, openly gay songwriters Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark took home the prize in 2014 alongside Kacey Musgraves for the track “Follow Your Arrow.”
“LETS GOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! 🐎 ⚡,” Lil Nas X tweeted on Wednesday after learning he had won the award. According to Out, the winner of the category was announced ahead of the Nashville ceremony on Wednesday night with a reveal on Good Morning America earlier that day.
“I wasn’t sure if this was going to be able to happen tonight,” he told reporters after the awards show, according to USA Today. “I’m so happy this song was accepted because it is the bridging of two polar opposite genres. I’m happy it’s gotten respect from both places.”
Check out PEOPLE’s full CMA Awards coverage to get the latest news on country music’s biggest night.
Lil Nas X, who earned viral fame earlier this year with “Old Town Road”, came out as gay at the end of Pride Month in June.
“Did you know as a little boy that you were gay? Did you think that as a youngster while people were telling you it’s not a good thing, were you thinking, ‘Yeah, but I think I am?’” asked King.
“Yeah, definitely. I knew. Especially around my teenage years,” Lil Nas X replied, adding that at that time he would “pray, pray and pray” that his sexuality was just “a phase.”
The rapper added that, while he does think he helped others by coming out, “we still have a long way to go.”
“There’s still a lot to be done, of course,” Lil Nas X said. “But I — I do believe it’s helping.”
Lil Nas X’s CMAs win was also notable after his original “Old Town Road” track was controversially removed from Billboard’s Hot Country chart in April, causing him to remix the track with country star Cyrus.