On Tuesday (March 29), it was announced that Lil Nas X’s “baby registry” — created in the lead-up to his debut album — has raised nearly $500,000 to be donated to 16 organizations, 14 of which are members of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative, a campaign from Gilead Sciences working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.
“Communities all across the South, like my home state of Georgia, are being transformed by the work of COMPASS grantees,” Lil Nas X said of the organizations in a statement. “The Montero baby registry was created to send resources to grassroots groups serving the most vulnerable. Funds raised will go to people living with HIV and inspire a new generation of leaders who will keep pushing for HIV education and one day, a cure.”
One organization receiving funding from Lil Nas’ fundraising drive is the Normal Anomaly Initiative in Houston. The organization aims to help Black queer people “to overcome barriers, end stigma and problematic narratives to actualize a new normal,” according to their website, by providing HIV testing, sex education classes, employment assistance and events celebrating the Black LGBTQ community.
“Lil Nas X has allowed our organization to dream big,” Ian L. Haddock, the Normal Anomaly’s executive director said in a statement. “Through these funds we are not only able to create a brave space for community, celebrate entrepreneurship and have queer musical artists headline a festival, but we are able to continue to raise money through ticket sales to impact necessary programming including our community burial fund, transgender services and programs that directly impact people living with and impacted by HIV.”
According to a 2019 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 51% of annual newly reported HIV diagnoses come from the South, with Black “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men” making up six out of every 10 new diagnoses. “HIV stigma is pervasive in the South and is often associated with stigma around sexual orientation, substance abuse disorder, poverty, and sex work, and may limit people’s willingness to disclose their HIV status or seek testing, care, or prevention services,” the study reports on the epidemic.
Dr. Shanell L. McGoy, the director of public affairs and corporate giving at Gilead Sciences, said in a statement that this donation from Lil Nas X will have a huge effect. “Donations from the Montero baby registry will have a direct impact on communities affected by HIV and we’re deeply thankful for Lil Nas X and his sustained advocacy for HIV awareness and education,” Dr. McGoy said.
As of late, Lil Nas X has been hard at work teasing his fans about his upcoming new music. After a prolonged break from his social media, Lil Nas has teased multiple new songs, including two collaborations with NBA Youngboy and Saucy Santana respectively, as well as a fiery new diss track called “Lean On My Body.”