If you thought Lil Nas X was going to let the BET Awards off the hook for not nominating him in a single category, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. In response to the snub, the “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” artist tweeted out a teaser of his new song “Late to Da Party” with the caption “Fuck BET.”
The short one-minute clip features a shirtless Lil Nas X sitting in a car rapping along to “Late to Da Party.” The song starts with “Fuck BET. Fuck BET.” It then goes into a verse about how great his life is, that he doesn’t need anybody and that the haters are just jealous. He’s definitely not wrong about that last part.
Despite being one of the biggest Black artists of the year, somehow Lil Nas X didn’t receive any 2022 BET Award nominations. The lack of recognition led to immediate accusations of homophobia against the awards for not honoring the openly gay rapper. And just in case anyone was wondering, Nas made it clear this isn’t about the awards, it’s about something more, tweeting, “this not over no bet award this is about the bigger problem of homophobia in the black community, y’all can sit and pretend all u want but imma risk it all for us.”
The “Old Town Road” rapper also replied to a series of tweets with thoughtful questions and comments on the issue. When someone asked why he would care about the BET Awards given his recent success at the Grammys, he wrote, “this is my point exactly how can i get acknowledged by the most acclaimed award show in the world and then not even just 1 nomination from my own people? is that not crazy? am i really tripping.”
Throughout the conversation, he also pointed out the success of his No. 1 hit “Industry Baby” and wondered why “queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things.”
For its part, BET released a statement responding to the 23-year-old, with the network saying that its nominees are chosen by an independent “Voting Academy.”
“We love Lil Nas X. He was nominated for a Best New Artist BET Award in 2020, and we proudly showcased his extraordinary talent and creativity on the show twice: he performed ‘Old Town Road’ with Billy Ray Cyrus at BET Awards 2019 and his BET Awards 2021 performance was a highlight of our show. No one cheered louder that night than BET.
Unfortunately, this year, he was not nominated by BET’s Voting Academy, which is comprised of an esteemed group of nearly 500 entertainment professionals in the fields of music, television, film, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, influencers, and creative arts. No one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy.
At BET, we are passionate advocates for the wonderful diversity that exists within our community. We are committed to using all of our platforms to provide visibility and inclusion for all of the many intersections of the Black community.”
I might be able to believe that the network is truly invested in “wonderful diversity” if it didn’t nominate the same people every year regardless of what their contributions are that year. And you can release all the statements you want, but the bottom line is you would rather recognize a white rapper than a queer Black one.
Lil Nas X is one of the most authentic, innovative artists in music. He doesn’t fit in some pre-made box and he’s not trying to. If BET and other Black awards shows can’t see past his sexuality, then there’s definitely a bigger problem we need to seriously talk about. And frankly, it’s their loss, because not having him appear will make your show a lot less interesting and fun.