BET responds ‘We love Lil Nas X’ after he calls them out for homophobia

BET announced the nominations for their annual awards last week. Notably absent? Lil Nas X and his debut album, Montero. Lil Nas X called BET out for the snub on Twitter, first by sardonically noting the lack of nominations and later referencing homophobia in the Black community. He also released a teaser video for his new song with the line “F BET.” BET responded to his tweets with a full statement saying how much they love him and pointing to the times he’s been nominated or featured at the awards show and noting their voting processes.

Lil Nas X is not happy with BET.

The rapper released a teaser video on Twitter on Tuesday for his new song “Late to Da Party” featuring YB, in which he sings “F— BET.”

The line comes after Lil Nas X expressed his disappointment for being shut out of nominations for the BET Awards last week. He also pointed out the ongoing struggle of Black queer artists over visibility and acceptance, particularly among Black audiences.

In a series of tweets, Lil Nas X called out the network for the snub despite the success of his album “Montero,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart in 2021.

“thank you bet awards,” he said in a since-deleted tweet. “An outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence.”

In another tweet, Lil Nas X addressed online critics suggesting he’s overreacting for not receiving a nomination. “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,” he tweeted.

In the teaser video for his latest track, he references his three singles, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name), “Industry Baby” and “That’s What I Want,” which all landed top 10 in Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 2021. “I should put like three up in the top 10,” he said in the video.

Following Lil Nas X’s released teaser video, BET said in a statement Wednesday that the nominees were chosen by BET’s Voting Academy — a group of 500 professionals in the entertainment industry — and that “no one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy.”

“We love Lil Nas X,” the statement said. “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.”

Ernest Owens, an editor at large for Philadelphia Magazine who is gay, said BET’s statement is “hollow” and that it suggests that there is lack of LGBTQ+ individuals involved in the decision-making process within BET’s Voting Academy.

“There’s no way to rationalize it,” said Owens, author of the upcoming book, “The Case for Cancel Culture.” “It was a homophobic decision.”

While other queer artists have not reached the mainstream heights that Lil Nas X has, the situation with him is “a great example of what the struggle continues to be” for Black music artists in the LGBTQ+ community, said Gerrick Kennedy, a culture critic and author based in Los Angeles.

Kennedy pointed out that one of his biggest songs featured Jack Harlow — introducing him to a large fan base. This year, Harlow was named a BET Award nominee for best male hip-hop artist. “At a certain point,” Kennedy said, “you do have to just sort of ask the question of what’s going on at BET?”

[From NBC News]

BET did a lot with the response… So much that it seemed a bit defensive. Pointing to his one nomination in 2020 when Lil Nas X was new (and snubbed by country charts) and his image was less formed than it is now is not really the defense they think it is. Nor is the mention of his performance at the awards last year, which some ridiculously found controversial because he kissed a dude. Just saying — BET saying “we love Lil Nas X” sounded a lot like “but I have Black friends!” And whenever you have to point to the voting body (ahem, Oscars, Grammys) as your defense, it just shows how out of touch the voting body is. In fact, a lot of the comments in response to his tweets about this pretty much proved his point about homophobia being the elephant in the room. There was a lot of “it’s not homophobic, but…” going on there. I also saw some chatter that basically said Lil Nas X should just be happy he was nominated for and won multiple Grammys. But (a) the Grammys and their voting body are not the best barometer and (b) Lil Nas X obviously wants to be recognized by his own community. Also, the article raises an excellent question about Jack Harlow and the fact that he was nominated. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I realized Jack Harlow wasn’t Jack Antonoff or Jack White — what is his appeal / why do people like him / who likes his hair and his face / if he’s rich why can’t he get his shoes dirty?

— obamas cousin (@LilNasX) June 7, 2022

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