Lil Nas X scored some of the biggest rap hits of the year in 2021, but failed to earn him a nomination at the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards. The rapper expresses his dismay on his new single Late To The Party and social media. According to the artist, homophobia in the black community is the problem.
“Fuck BET, fuck BET, fuck BET.” The new single Late To The Party by Lil Nas X, a collaboration with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, begins with unmistakable words. He shared this part of the song on Twitter in early June, just after the nominations were announced for the BET Awards, entertainment awards for black American culture in the fields of music, film and sports, among other things. After sharing the clip, he enters into a conversation with his followers about why he thinks he was not nominated.
The rapper points out that he was nominated in all major categories at the Grammy Awards, which are known as the most important music awards in the United States this year. “How can I get recognition at the most prestigious awards and not get a single nomination from my own people?” he says, referring to his black American descent.
Award in the toilet
Lil Nas X scored one of the biggest hits of the year with Jack Harlow with his song Industry Baby† According to him, the fact that this song does not qualify for any prize has to do with homophobia. “The funny thing is that Industry Baby was the biggest hit that both Jack and I released in the up-and-coming period, but only one of us was nominated.” For example, Lil Nas X responded via Twitter to a fan who agrees with Lil Nas X that he did not receive a nomination because of his sexual orientation. Harlow himself has been nominated as the best hip-hop artist.
Lil Nas X clarifies that he is not necessarily doing a prize for himself. “This is about the bigger problem of homophobia in the black community.” According to the artist, acceptance is lacking, especially when it comes to gay men who behave ‘more feminine’. A follower points to artists such as Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator, who are themselves part of the LGBTQ+ community and have received BET Awards and nominations. “I love Frank and Tyler, but can we admit that queer men are more respected when they are less feminine or am I making that up?” he responds.
Lil Nas X himself also won two BET Awards in 2019 for his first hit Old Town Road† Although he received this when he was already out of the closet, he was not yet so outspoken before his sexuality comes out in his lyrics and the video clips for his songs. The fact that the rapper still attaches little value to these prices is apparent from images of the video clip at Late To The Party† In it, he puts one of the awards in the toilet and pees on it; a reference to rapper Ye’s run-in with the Grammy Awards, where he did the same.
BET: ‘We love Lil Nas X’
BET denies that they deliberately refrained from nominating Lil Nas X. “We just love him,” the organization said. “He was nominated as the best new artist in 2020 and we have shown his extraordinary talent on our stage twice.” Lil Nas X performed at the awards show in 2019 and 2021. Last year he caused some controversy during his rendition of his hit Montero (Call Me By Your Name) to kiss one of his dancers.
BET explains that the nominations and awards are given out by an academy of 500 entertainment professionals and that no one from BET itself is part of this. “At BET, we stand for the beautiful diversity of our community. We are committed to providing visibility and inclusion for all levels of the black community across all platforms.” What the academy’s considerations are for not nominating Lil Nas X despite his success remains unclear.
The rapper has not responded to this statement from BET, but is still regularly on social media, and now also with Late To The Partyshow his dissatisfaction. For him, it’s part of a larger whole of criticism he gets for being visibly queer.
For example, he is regularly told that his homosexuality is too emphasized in his music and videos and according to some critics that would have deterred the BET Awards. The artist is wrong about that. “Homosexual men must continue to make their homosexuality their personality as long as we are still thrown in prison or even murdered in different countries.”