Lil Nas X Performs 'Industry Baby' and 'Montero (Call Me By Your Name)' at the 2021 MTV VMAs

Lil Nas X brought his Jack Harlow collaboration "Industry Baby" to life for the first time on the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards stage

This one is for the champions!

Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow joined forces to perform their hit collaboration "Industry Baby" live for the first time on the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards stage on Sunday.

During the performance, Lil Nas X, 22, and Harlow, 23, riffed on the prison theme from their music video, performing before a backdrop that read "Montero State Prison."

Lil Nas X kicked off the song with a full drumline, before shedding a marching band outfit for hot-pink pants and no shirt. Harlow eventually joined him in an all-black get-up to sing his verse on the track.

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X. John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty

After Harlow's exit, the spotlight was back on Lil Nas X, who ended the set with a snippet of his hit "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," during which he performed a sultry series of choreographed dance moves while surrounded by a troupe of shirtless dancers, recreating the headline-making shower scene from the "Industry Baby" video.

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Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow
Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow. John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty

Following the show-stopping set, GLAAD revealed that Lil Nas X made an important statement.

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"@LilNasX delivered a powerful performance at the #VMAs and shined a spotlight on the stigma that fuels HIV, especially across the South. Mardrequs Harris from @SouthernAIDSCo wore the number 433,816 in red, representing the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South," the organization tweeted.

The performance was Harlow's first at the VMAs and Lil Nas X's second, who last brought his single "Panini" to the stage in 2019.

At the show, Lil Nas X is up for a total of five awards, including video of the year — the top prize of the night — for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)." His "Montero (Call My By Your Name)" music video also earned him nominations in the video for good, best direction, best art direction and best visual effects categories.

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X. John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty

Lil Nas X's appearance at the show comes just five days ahead of the release of his debut studio album Montero, which he told PEOPLE earlier this month was largely created over the past year in lockdown and changed him in "so many ways."

"I've changed the way that I handle a lot of situations, the way I manage my sadness and anger and just understanding that I don't have to react to emotions in certain ways," he said. "I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose how to react. I've learned to let people's comments roll off my back."

Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow
Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow. John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty

Lil Nas X said he also learned through the creation of this album "to have full faith in myself."

"The only person that really has to believe in me is myself," he said. "It's been a lot of self-affirmations this year that I probably would not have been able to do two years ago."

From the personal "Sun Goes Down" to the catchy "Industry Baby," the songs on the new album represent Lil Nas X's total journey here, from "places I've been to places I want to go."

"You're getting a lot of stories about me," he said. "You're getting a lot of stories about my past and where I want to be in my love life. But they're also a bop. I feel like I finally found a great balance between being as real as possible within my music and making a hit song."

Along with his Harlow collaboration, Lil Nas X teamed up with Megan Thee Stallion for "Dolla Sign Slime," Elton John for "One of Me," Miley Cyrus for "Am I Dreaming" and Doja Cat for "Scoop" on the album, which also includes "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)."

VMA Arrivals
Lil Nas X. Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Last week, Lil Nas X released photos from an over-the-top pregnancy shoot he staged in celebration of the new album, which he said has been very much like a "baby" to him. Since then, he's been posting photos of his bump to his social media.

Like any parent, he said he has a lot of hopes and dreams for his "baby" on the way.

"I hope every single corner of the globe is reached with this album," he said, before declaring: "It's going to happen!"

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards are airing live from New York City on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

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