The BET Awards have announced the nominations for the 2022 ceremony, happening on June 26th. With Doja Cat taking the lead with most nominations, one star was noticeably left off the list of Black excellence: Lil Nas X.
Being the second year in a row that the 5x Grammy-nominated artist was left out of consideration, he took to Twitter to say, “thank you bet awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence!”
When met with a troll asking him why he even thought he should be nominated, Lil Nas X 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.”
To add insult to injury, one of the nominees for Best New Hip-Hop artist is Jack Harlow, whose popularity, in my opinion, was increased by his feature with Lil Nas X on number one hit Industry Baby. He’s also white. Not to take credit from Jack Harlow, as his single First Class has certainly been doing the rounds, reaching number one on Billboard, but you can see how that would make the situation worse.
It’s no secret that the Black community, especially those in music, have a complicated relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. I say complicated but let’s be honest, it’s rampant with homophobia and considering the success of Lil Nas’s album and the three number ones it produced, it’s clear to see that success doesn’t change that. What other reason could there possibly be for him not even to be considered?
Only recently, Kendrick Lamar came under fire for the contents of his song Auntie Diaries. Although the song discloses him getting to grips with trans family members, some people were torn about his intention, use of homophobic slang and picked up on his misgendering of said family members.
There was nowhere you could go last year without hearing Montero (Call Me By Your Name). There wasn’t a news outlet that wasn’t talking about Lil Nas giving the devil a lap dance or the homoerotic music video that is Industry Baby, which not only made waves but homophobes uncomfortable. When it comes to Black excellence, Lil Nas X wouldn’t be left off many lists. From the visuals of his album to the creativity, boldness and braveness in shaking things up, Lil Nas X certainly set the tone for music in 2021. But as he said himself, “I just feel like black gay [people] have to fight to be seen in this world,”
As far as I’m aware, none of the nominees for the BET Awards are from the LGBTQ+ community. Lil Nas X came onto the scene iconic. From being a Black person trying to break into the Country Music space to embodying the gay Black artist he needed growing up, all BET have accomplished is reminding young Black gay people that there isn’t a place for them there. And, until BET comes out with a statement/explanation saying otherwise, this is what many people are going to think.
Some Twitter users have tried to argue that Lil Nas’s snub was due to the fact he’s a pop artist, and BET is about hip-hop. A silly misconception, considering the BET Awards also honours actors, sports personalities and those doing good for humanity. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a pop category – so try again.
Even if you dislike Lil Nas X and his music, like with all ceremonies, it’s about popularity, the number of streams, impact and what/who people are talking about. I’m not the biggest fan of Doja Cat, but she ticks all of those boxes – as does Lil Nas X – so what’s the difference? No matter how you slice it, BET can’t hide from the big, fat elephant in the room – and that elephant is wearing a Pride flag.
Image credit: LiveNation