BET responds ‘We love Lil Nas X’ after he calls them out for homophobia

BET announced the nominations for their annual awards last week. Notably absent? Lil Nas X and his debut album, Montero. Lil Nas X called BET out for the snub on Twitter, first by sardonically noting the lack of nominations and later referencing homophobia in the Black community. He also released a teaser video for his new song with the line “F BET.” BET responded to his tweets with a full statement saying how much they love him and pointing to the times he’s been nominated or featured at the awards show and noting their voting processes.

Lil Nas X is not happy with BET.

The rapper released a teaser video on Twitter on Tuesday for his new song “Late to Da Party” featuring YB, in which he sings “F— BET.”

The line comes after Lil Nas X expressed his disappointment for being shut out of nominations for the BET Awards last week. He also pointed out the ongoing struggle of Black queer artists over visibility and acceptance, particularly among Black audiences.

In a series of tweets, Lil Nas X called out the network for the snub despite the success of his album “Montero,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart in 2021.

“thank you bet awards,” he said in a since-deleted tweet. “An outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence.”

In another tweet, Lil Nas X addressed online critics suggesting he’s overreacting for not receiving a nomination. “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,” he tweeted.

In the teaser video for his latest track, he references his three singles, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name), “Industry Baby” and “That’s What I Want,” which all landed top 10 in Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 2021. “I should put like three up in the top 10,” he said in the video.

Following Lil Nas X’s released teaser video, BET said in a statement Wednesday that the nominees were chosen by BET’s Voting Academy — a group of 500 professionals in the entertainment industry — and that “no one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy.”

“We love Lil Nas X,” the statement said. “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.”

Ernest Owens, an editor at large for Philadelphia Magazine who is gay, said BET’s statement is “hollow” and that it suggests that there is lack of LGBTQ+ individuals involved in the decision-making process within BET’s Voting Academy.

“There’s no way to rationalize it,” said Owens, author of the upcoming book, “The Case for Cancel Culture.” “It was a homophobic decision.”

While other queer artists have not reached the mainstream heights that Lil Nas X has, the situation with him is “a great example of what the struggle continues to be” for Black music artists in the LGBTQ+ community, said Gerrick Kennedy, a culture critic and author based in Los Angeles.

Kennedy pointed out that one of his biggest songs featured Jack Harlow — introducing him to a large fan base. This year, Harlow was named a BET Award nominee for best male hip-hop artist. “At a certain point,” Kennedy said, “you do have to just sort of ask the question of what’s going on at BET?”

[From NBC News]

BET did a lot with the response… So much that it seemed a bit defensive. Pointing to his one nomination in 2020 when Lil Nas X was new (and snubbed by country charts) and his image was less formed than it is now is not really the defense they think it is. Nor is the mention of his performance at the awards last year, which some ridiculously found controversial because he kissed a dude. Just saying — BET saying “we love Lil Nas X” sounded a lot like “but I have Black friends!” And whenever you have to point to the voting body (ahem, Oscars, Grammys) as your defense, it just shows how out of touch the voting body is. In fact, a lot of the comments in response to his tweets about this pretty much proved his point about homophobia being the elephant in the room. There was a lot of “it’s not homophobic, but…” going on there. I also saw some chatter that basically said Lil Nas X should just be happy he was nominated for and won multiple Grammys. But (a) the Grammys and their voting body are not the best barometer and (b) Lil Nas X obviously wants to be recognized by his own community. Also, the article raises an excellent question about Jack Harlow and the fact that he was nominated. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I realized Jack Harlow wasn’t Jack Antonoff or Jack White — what is his appeal / why do people like him / who likes his hair and his face / if he’s rich why can’t he get his shoes dirty?

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22 Responses to “BET responds ‘We love Lil Nas X’ after he calls them out for homophobia”

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  1. jferber says:

    Lil Nas X forever. He’s absolutely correct. Good on him. He and his music are fire. BET needs to act like they know it and give him his props. Period.

  2. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I am not familiar with his album, so a question: is he objectively better than the nominees? (I don’t doubt he experiences homophobia in the scene, btw, I am just wondering if he is indeed that much better than the competition that he KNOWS for sure he was snubbed due to his sexual orientation.)

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      Stop it! Every d*mn time someone from a marginalized community calls out what they are experiencing, someone comes along and says, “But how do you KNOW you experienced it. Maybe all white people are better than black people and you need to step up your game.” “Maybe all cis hetero people are better at XYZ than any LGBTQ+ person.” You have to stop allowing that to be your knee-jerk reaction and just LISTEN!

      • Oh_Hey says:


        Like one of the nominees this round was Jack Harlow. The same white “rapper” that exploded on Lil Nas’ single. You know the one that got heat for getting carried by a bunch of black men during the Kentucky Derby to keep his shoes clean a few weeks ago. The BET awards nominated him.

        How do people even fix their fingers to write those kinds of comments?

    • Christina says:

      @Nanny, he deserves it. The album is beautiful. It’s a dance album and so much more. The work is sensitive and smart and a cohesive whole. It’s pop with R&B and rap cultural flare. His perspective is complex. It’s personal and at the same time makes the perspective of this particular gay Black man incredibly accessible, so his lyrics have a timeless quality. It’s a work that allows you to see yourself in it. It’s not just fun to listen to. It’s groundbreaking in its accessibility to a wider audience in a homophobic society. And it isn’t an gay anthem album. In terms of artistry, I’d compare it’s influence to David Bowie’s work. If you like the genre of music and aren’t a homophonic a—hole, it’s delightful!

      I know. I’m a shameless, fawning fan. But it’s true! Even if you don’t enjoy the genre, it’s an important album.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        Thank you for an extensive answer! I will give it a listen. I can imagine his perspective can bring something unique to the scene, and if that is the case, it is truly sad that his work isn’t recognized.

  3. Izzy says:

    The fact that they pivot to their voting academy… is not the flex they think it is. Their academy just has a lot of homophobes and BET basically just admitted that l

    • SAS says:

      BET literally underscored his point about homophobia in the Black community. What an own goal.

      All the love to Montero, dude is talented as hell and gives it his all. There is no one like him in music right now.

  4. jferber says:

    His song I Want Someone to Love Me is so wonderful. Please listen to it.

    • kirk says:

      Listening to it on Apple music (forget I have it since I mostly listen to audiobooks). Didn’t realize he had a whole album; I like his distinctive voice. His Uber Eats commercial with Elton John was hilarious. Don’t know anything about Jack Harlow other than he appears to benefit from white privilege – kind of a shame that appears to be operating at BET.

  5. ThatsNotOkay says:

    This is embarrassing. Jack Harlow? Lil Nas X being upset at BET and calling them out should tell us something: he values a BET Award over a Grammy and I love that. The BET. Voting Academy needs more representation. Just like the Oscars went into overdrive to overhaul their membership after #OscarsSoWhite, BET needs to overhaul its voting academy after BETsSoHetero. Go, Lil Nas X!

  6. jferber says:

    I don’t know much about Jack Harlow, except he was justly irate that a police officer strangled/lay hands a Black female fan of Jack’s who was trying to get into a concert. Jack said he will give her tickets for all his shows that she wants to see. I believe he also said the cop should be fired.

  7. jferber says:

    I also love his confidence and his fashion sense. In my opinion, he is the next big thing. He’s also at least 6 feet tall, which is swoon worthy.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    I LOVE him – he really is such a role model and I wish him nothing but love.

    His music videos are really a work of art – we see all these rap artists with their video’s showing them getting down with some hot chick(s) and he does the same with a hot man/men and gets chased down for it. I love him for that alone – he is really out there for LGTB+ POC.

  9. Maddy says:

    Jack Harlow’s biggest song last year was being featured on Lil Nas X’s song, yet he gets a nom and LNX doesn’t.

    Hmmmmmm….. I wonder what the difference is. JH getting tons of industry co-signs is suspect. Someone powerful clearly wants him to be one of the leaders of the new gen.

  10. Amy Bee says:

    He should have been nominated.

  11. Milkweed says:

    I love Lil Nas X! He’s so talented and hot 🔥

  12. jferber says:

    Maddy, I agree with you. Never even heard a Harlow song. It’s an insult to Lil Nas X if the song was just featured on a better song by X. Harlow should say something about this. If he does not, then to hell with him.