Entertainment

Rapper Lil Nas X Fumes at ‘Homophobia in the Black Community’ After BET Awards Snub

Lil Nas X has doubled down on his war against the Black community’s history of homophobia after he received zero nominations for the 2022 BET Awards, a show that will ironically be held during Pride Month.

“Fuck BET! Fuck BET! Fuck BET!” the rapper bopped in a song and video he previewed Tuesday on Twitter as he escalated a social media campaign dissing the network and its alleged bias against queer artists of color. The video raked in over a million views within 24 hours of being launched.

In a series of tweets, the rapper, who is an outspoken member of the LGBTQ+ community, railed against Black Entertainment Television and suggested his snub was a symptom of homophobia within Black spaces. He claimed the network refused to give him his artistic props—despite his accolades elsewhere in the industry—because he supposedly dampens the image of the masculine Black man.

“'[I]ndustry baby’ is the 2nd longest running #1 song on the billboard rap charts of all time and didn’t get a single nomination,” Nas tweeted about his single featuring rapper Jack Harlow. (For the record, Jack Harlow, a white man, was nominated for BET’s Best Male Hip Hop Artist award.)

Nas’ “Industry Baby,” released in July 2021, was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2022.

“[T]his not over no bet award,” Nas wrote in another tweet on Tuesday. “[T]his 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.”

Writing for the Los Angeles Times in 2019, music critic and author Gerrick Kennedy said hip hop’s “refusal to embrace anything queer has been a blemish on the genre for as long as it’s been around.”

“Rap culture has always been powered by unbridled machismo, and one would be hard pressed to not find a gay slur embedded in the lyrics of any of the genre’s most famous architects,” Kennedy wrote. “In fact, an entire lexicon dedicated to pointing out discomfort with gay men has permeated rap lyrics.”

Apparently, Lil Nas X feels that sentiment has not waned.

“Tyler, the Creator and Frank [Ocean] have been nominated idk,” a Twitter user commented under Nas’ thread, 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 queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things or am i making that up?”

In an email to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Kennedy said queer sexuality is still treated as a taboo or a punchline—“and [Black] culture promotes, and encourages it.”

“Rap struggles profoundly because it is a genre that centers cishet male gaze,” he said. “Folks can point to Lil Nas X and Tyler the Creator and go ‘See, there is progress,’ which is true. But let either one of them rap about having sex with men and see where the conversation goes.”

Lil Nas X, infamous for flashy outfits and for being upfront about his sexuality, had a slew of Twitter followers join his BET roast.

“Ask them why Pose never got a nod from BET,” said culture writer Steven Underwoodreferencing the multiple Emmy Award-winning show that centered on 1980s and ’90s drag culture in New York City.

Nas wants his flowers now, and rightfully so. The rapper made a huge splash on the music scene when he debuted with “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus in 2019. The song and video won Grammy Awards in 2020 for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. He was also the NAACP Awards’ Outstanding New Artist in 2020. In 2021, Nas’ “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” won Video of the Year at the 2021 MTV Music Awards, and he has continued to rack up 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 the Grammys this year was snubbed by BET,” Kennedy told The Daily Beast. “To be overlooked in that way by your community a year after a performance that he had to fight to have on that stage deserves to be called out, particularly given the network’s historical lack of inclusivity on 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 comprised of an esteemed 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 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.”

“This is even worse lmao,” culture blogger @DDotOmen tweeted, “cause how y’all get 500 n—s to collectively do anything? Let alone VOTE and not ONE nominated @LilNasX? For anything? Smells like cap.”

Kennedy said Nas’ decision to speak out “was crucial to us having an overdue conversation around BET’s lack of representation, and how that continues to impact Black queer artists.”

As he railed against homophobia in the Black community, Lil Nas X also shared a heartfelt tweet: “[L]last weekend i brought my family to a gay club for the first time and it felt like a release off my 13 year old self’s shoulders. it’s one thing for your family to know you’re gay but it’s a whole nother thing for them to acknowledge it and truly try to unlearn the hatred for it.”

“[G]ay men should continue making being gay their whole personality,” he later added“as long as we are still being jailed [and fucking] killed in countries for it.”

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