Lil Nas X was honored by Variety with the Innovator Award during their annual Hitmakers event on Saturday (Dec. 4). He was presented the award by R&B singer Chlöe who gave an introduction that the “Old Town Road” star said brought him to tears.
“There could not be a more appropriate honor for Lil Nas X. He has embodied the spirit of courage while also representing the culture authentically and beautifully. Maybe once in a generation, an artist comes along and literally changes the world for the better,” expressed the “Have Mercy” vocalist. “By being exactly who he is and commanding attention, by creating a universe that is both undeniable and exceptionally entertaining, he’s kicked in the door.”
Chlöe continued, “Yes, he has smashed records. Yes, he has broken down barriers. He delivers creatively like no other and that makes him so deserving of this: innovator of the year.”
When accepting the honor, Lil Nas X shared his own words on his career and the year he’s had with the release of his debut album MONTERO.
“I had a lot of fun pissing people off. I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” he joked. His music videos for the album’s title track, as well as the Jack Harlow-assisted hit “Industry Baby” caused controversy.
“This year took a lot of mental strength from me to be able to keep pushing after my debut put me in such a high place so quickly,” the 22-year-old musician continued. “I came out. I was myself. I did what I needed to do. I put effort into every single part of my career. I’m simply thankful for this award. I’m thankful for this year.”
The Hitmakers event, tied to Variety‘s Dec. 2 Hitmakers issue, recognizes writers, producers, publishers, managers, and executives who helped make—and break—the 25 most-consumed songs of the year according to the outlet. Jack Harlow was honored as the Hitmaker Of Tomorrow, K Pop group BTS for Record Of The Year, Billie Eilish and Finneas for Best Film Song Of The Year, Lana Del Rey for the Decade Award, Normani for the Collaborator Of The Year, Polo G for the Rising Star award presented by Amazon Music, Kali Uchis for the Crossover Award, Glass Animals for Group Of The Year, Walker Hayes for Sync Of The Year, and City Girls for the Future Is Female Award presented by Motown Records.
“I don’t even know what to say. We’re getting an award,” gushed JT as she and Yung Miami took the podium. “Thank you Variety. Somebody recognized us.”
“Thank you everybody and thank God, period,” added Yung Miami.
Watch City Girls accept the Future Is Female Award below and Lil Nas X take the Innovator Award presented by Chlöe above.