Lil Nas X doubled down on his war on the black community’s history of homophobia after receiving zero nominations for the 2022 BET Awards, a show that will ironically be held during Pride Month.
“Fuck BET! Fuck BET! Fuck BET!” the country rapper released a song and video that he previewed on Twitter on Tuesday while climbing a social media campaign criticizing the network and its alleged bias against queer artists of color. the video rocked over a million views within 24 hours of release.
In a series of tweets, the rapper, who is an outspoken member of the LGBTQ+ community, criticized Black Entertainment Television and suggested its contempt was a symptom of homophobia within black spaces. He claimed the network refused to give him his artistic props – despite his praise elsewhere in the industry – because he allegedly undermines the image of the masculine black man.
“'[I]ndustry baby’ is the second longest running number 1 song on the rap charts of all time and has not received a single nomination,” Nas tweeted about her single with rapper Jack Harlow. (For the record, Jack Harlow, a white male, was nominated for BET’s Best Male Hip Hop Artist.)
Nas’ “Industry Baby,” released in July 2021, has been certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. in April 2022.
“[T]he didn’t beat any betting prizes.” In the wrote in another tweet on Tuesday. “[T]this is about the biggest problem of homophobia in the black community, you can sit back and pretend all you want but i will risk everything for us.”
writing to the Los Angeles Times in 2019, music critic and author Gerrick Kennedy said that “hip hop’s refusal to embrace anything queer has been a stain on the genre for as long as it has existed.”
“Rap culture has always been fueled by rampant machismo, and it would be hard not to find a gay slur embedded in the lyrics of any of the genre’s most famous architects,” Kennedy wrote. “In fact, a whole lexicon devoted to pointing out discomfort with gay men permeated rap lyrics.”
Apparently, Lil Nas X feels the feeling hasn’t abated.
“Tyler the Creator and Frank [Ocean] were named idk”, a Twitter user commented under the topic of Nas, referencing two black LGBTQ+ hip hop artists who have portrayed themselves as more masculine.
But Nas had an immediate rebuttal. “[L]Ove Frank and Tyler to death.” he tweeted“but can we admit that queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things or am I making this up?”
In an email to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Kennedy said queer sexuality is still treated as a taboo or a joke — “and [Black] culture promotes and encourages it”.
“Rap struggles deeply because it’s a genre that centers the male cish gaze,” he said. “People can point to Lil Nas X and Tyler the Creator and say, ‘See, there’s progress,’ which is true. But let any of them rap about having sex with men and see where the conversation goes.”
Lil Nas X, famous for flashy clothes and being outspoken about his sexuality, had a massive following on Twitter joining his BET roast.
“Ask them why Pose never got a nod from BET,” said culture writer Steven Underwoodreferencing the multi-emmy award-winning show centered on 80s and 90s drag culture in New York City.
Nas wants her flowers now, and rightly so. The country rapper made a big impact on the music scene when he debuted with “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus in 2019. The song and video won 2020 Grammy Awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. He was also the 2020 NAACP Awards Best New Artist. In 2021, Nas’ “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” won Video of the Year at the 2021 MTV Music Awards, it’s him continued to garner recognition from the American Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Billboard Music Awards, iHeart Radio Awards, Country Music Awards, and People’s Choice Awards. Nas also won two BET Hip Hop Awards in 2019 for “Old Town Road”.
“It’s confusing that an artist who was nominated for album, record and song of the year at this year’s Grammys was snubbed by BET,” Kennedy told The Daily Beast. “To be forgotten in this way by his community a year after a performance he had to fight for on that stage deserves to be called out, particularly given the network’s historic lack of inclusion in its network.”
In a statement to Deadline, a spokesperson for BET said: “Unfortunately, this year, [Lil Nas X] was not nominated by BET’s Voting Academy, which is made up of an estimated group of nearly 500 entertainment professionals… No one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy.”
The statement continued: “At BET, we are passionate advocates for the wonderful diversity that exists in our community. We are committed to using all of our platforms to provide visibility and inclusion for all the many intersections of the black community.”
“This is even worse lmao,” culture blogger @DDotOmen tweeted, “because how do you get 500 n—s to collectively do anything? Much less VOTE and not a @LilNasX nominee? For anything? It smells like a cap.”
Kennedy said Nas’ decision to speak out “was crucial for us to have a long overdue conversation about BET’s lack of representation and how it continues to impact black queer artists.”
As he protested against homophobia in the black community, Lil Nas X also shared a heartfelt tweet: “[L]This past weekend I brought my family to a gay club for the first time and it felt like a release from the shoulders of my 13 year old self. It’s one thing for your family to know you’re gay, but it’s another thing for them to recognize that and really try to unlearn the hate for it.”
“[G]all men should continue to make being gay their whole personality.” he added later“While we’re stuck [and fucking] killed in countries for it.”