‘I just feel like Black gay ppl have to fight to be seen in this world and even when we make it to the top mfs try to pretend we are invisible’
If you’ve been on the internet recently, it’s likely you’ve seen that Lil Nas X is not happy with BET – and for good reason.
Last week, it was revealed that the rapper did not receive a single nomination for the BET Awards, despite releasing three singles which reached the top ten in Billboard's Hot 100 list in 2021 and the success of “Montero” which reached No 2 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart.
Lil Nas X has also been a fierce champion for LGBTQ rights. Prior to the release of “Montero”, he shared a ‘baby registry’ listing 15 LGBTQ and human rights charities and encouraged fans to donate. He’s also been a passionate voice for increasing visibility and acceptance of queer Black artists – which is mainly why the BET snub is so cruel.
In response to the snub, on Tuesday the rapper released a teaser video on Twitter to promote his new song ‘Late to Da Party’. He explicitly references the feud in the song, saying “Fuck BET” and “I should put like three up in the top ten.”
Following the release of the video, BET said in a statement on 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 is 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.”
Lil Nas X also posted a series of tweets slamming the network. In one now-deleted tweet the artist sarcastically quipped: “thank you bet awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence!”
He also stood up against those who claimed he was overreacting. “IDK, maybe 3 of the biggest songs of last year and a critically acclaimed album. I feel like that should’ve helped me a bit,” he wrote.
He added that his frustration was largely borne out of the lack of recognition that Black queer artists receive for their work. “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 wrote, adding "[it] doesn’t even have to be me nominated. I just feel like…even when we make it to the top mfs try to pretend we are invisible.”
The rapper has recently embraced a more unapologetically camp identity. Back in January, he told CBS Sunday Morning: “I feel like I’m definitely much more ‘out there’ with it. It’s always been, ‘OK, if you’re gay, this needs to be sanitized. Let’s not include anything sexual.’ It’s like, ‘Be gay without being gay. We don’t wanna know what happens behind closed doors, or we don’t want you to express that.’” Following the snub, Lil Nas X tweeted: “can we admit queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things or am I making that up?”