A lot can be said about rapper Lil Nas X. One thing that is important to him is that he remains true to himself despite what the industry or people want him to be. It’s no surprise then that the heritage brand Coach tapped him to star in its “Courage to Be Real” campaign. He did after all close the brand's SS23 runway show during New York Fashion Week.
This marks the the barrier-breaking rapper's first Coach global ambassadorship. The label's “Courage to Be Real” campaign is about embracing all aspects of who you are with confidence—and inspiring others to express themselves authentically, too.
“My vision for Coach has always been to create a fashion world where people feel free to express themselves as they are, to bring this vision to life, I was thrilled to bring Lil Nas X and [the campaign's photographer] Petra Collins together with Coach for the first time—two artists who have changed the world around them by being themselves. The film we created together is a new form of storytelling that not only feels unexpected and different for us, it helps to create a community around the values we share with the next generation,” said Stuart Vevers, Coach's Creative Director.
The campaign and video by Collins follows Lil Nas X’s courageous evolution to become the person he is today, and the obstacles he overcame along the journey, along with the criticism he’s received from others on how he should carry himself. Set in a dream-like world, the film follows the rapper through rooms that represent key moments in his personal journey—from his early days in the Atlanta suburbs to becoming the multi-hyphenate superstar he is today. In each room, he moves through doors that represent the struggles he has faced in life—from fear, and self-doubt, to judgment from others—and ultimately takes the stage, inspiring the world to transcend their limits and express who they really are.
“My whole career has been about breaking down doors, and this campaign represents everything I’ve overcome so far, it’s about walking into new chapters of life, new experiences, and new versions of myself, and it’s rooted in authenticity and self-expression—two things I really care about. It was really fun collaborating with [Coach's creative director] Stuart Veveers and [ the campaign's photographer] Petra Collins to bring this to life,” shared Lil Nas X.