It seems like Lil Nas X’s music videos are always an event. After catapulting to fame in 2019 with the viral “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X has established himself as having one of the best senses of humor in the music industry — just look at his Twitter. His music videos are instantly meme-able and in on the joke, just like the man himself. After the immense success of “Old Town Road” — including two Grammy Awards and a record-breaking run atop the Billboard Hot 100 – he had to prove he was more than a one-hit-wonder with his follow up single, “Panini.”
Lil Nas X came of age on Twitter, using the platform well before he became famous and learning first-hand how to capture the internet’s attention. Another young star who learned how to use social media to their advantage is Skai Jackson, widely known for her role on Disney Channel’s Jessie, her life as a meme, and her feud with Bhad Bhabie. When she appeared in Lil Nas X’s video for “Panini,” it was pretty much a match made in internet heaven.
Lil Nas X performed the song live for the first time at the 2019 VMAs, but the music video took it to the next level. The futuristic video features Lil Nas X chasing Jackson through a Blade Runner-esque environment while she cringes at his antics. While promoting the song, the artist opened up about his thought process for the video’s casting.
Lil Nas X wanted to help Skai Jackson break out
During a 2019 interview on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Lil Nas X revealed exactly why he tapped Skai Jackson for the “Panini” music video. “She’s a familiar face,” he acknowledged before touching on the struggle that child stars have complained of for years. “With a lot of Disney stars, people, like, try to I guess … it seemed like they make it hard for them to break out of that.” He added: “I’m hoping, like, she gets a lot that’s coming out of this so she can move forward with her career.”
Lil Nas X is on to something here. Music videos have proven to be a successful way for Disney stars to break out of their childhood image and transition into more mature roles — even when they aren’t the artist making the music. For example, Zendaya appeared in videos for both Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, helping to expose her to a wider audience before landing roles in Euphoria and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Lil Nas X and Jackson are two artists who seemingly have very bright futures ahead of them, and who appear to work well together. As Lil Nas X told host Rickey Smiley: “I don’t want to call her a little girl, but she’s, like, the nicest little girl.” It seems like in addition to being a good collaboration, “Panini” was the start of a beautiful friendship, as well.
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