“I just feel like Black gay ppl have to fight to be seen in this world,” he wrote on Twitter.
The BET Awards announced their nominees last week, with the notable exception of Lil Nas X. It was a conspicuous snub, and Lil Nas X isn’t going to take it quietly. Since releasing his first full length record, Montero, last September, he’s seen massive critical success. He was nominated for five Grammys, two Brit Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards in this year’s awards circuit — so the slight from BET feels personal in the wake of so much fanfare elsewhere.
He first sounded off by posting a now deleted series of tweets that began, “thank you bet awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence!” When a twitter user asked him what he had put out to earn a nomination he coyly responded, “Idk maybe 3 of the biggest songs of last year & a critically acclaimed album. I feel like that should’ve helped me a bit.” He added, “Doesn’t even have to be me nominated. 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.”
He returned to the internet on Tuesday to continue provoking discussion. He posted a preview of his new single “Late to Da Party,” with a clip of him sining along to the opening line “Fuck BET,” with his middle finger up. He added, “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.”
BET released a statement on Tuesday which read, “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.”
During his performance at last year’s BET awards, Lil Nas X shared a kiss with one of his male backup dancers — a move that of course brought out internet trolls but was applauded by fans for showcasing queer love. BET’s omission of one of the industry’s most prominent queer entertainers during his first album cycle — during Pride month no less — is hard not to read into. Still, Lil Nas X seems to have taken the move as a rallying call to champion Black queer artistry, and he’s doing just fine on that front.