Lil Nas X Reacts To BET Awards Snub

Lil Nas X Reacts To BET Awards Snub

The nominees for the 2022 BET Awards were announced on Wednesday, and many were surprised to learn that hip-“Industry hop’s Baby,” a.k.a. Lil Nas X, did not make the cut. While some online users didn’t see the problem, others did and took to social media to raise the issue and call out the legacy platform for its egregious oversight for the second year in a row his 2021 album Montero went platinum and earned him five Grammy nominations earlier this year.

In a series of since-deleted tweets, Lil Nas X expressed his displeasure with the BET Awards, writing: “Thank you, BET Awards. Once again, there are no nominees. Excellence in blackness! This year, outside of the BET Awards, I’ll be selling fish plates.”

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“IDK maybe three of the biggest songs of last year and a critically acclaimed album,” Lil Nas responded when asked what music he released online by a user. That seems like it should’ve aided me a little.” “I just feel like Black gay people have to fight to be seen in this world,” he continued, “and even when we get to the top, MFS try to pretend we’re invisible.”

And do you know what else? He is completely correct. While the struggle for Black queer people to be recognized for their humanity and contributions has long been documented and continues to do so even in the year of our Lord Blue Ivy, let’s zoom out and ignore the BET Awards—and Lil Nas X in particular—for a moment.

Let’s just replace them both with a highly visible and culturally significant award show for the Black community and a Black, non-gay rapper who has received the same acclaim. In what universe would that rapper go unnoticed? Is it at that particular award show?

I can’t answer for any platform’s motivations, and I won’t speculate on why that rapper’s success was overlooked. What I’ll say is that, at a time when there’s a lot of talk about Black artists not supporting Black platforms or showing up for Black awards on a regular basis (all of which is true), it doesn’t look good when the platforms and award show that is supposed to be for us, by us fail to recognize Black artists who are at the top of their game.

And it’s not just hip-hop/rap that does that. I’m thinking of Black country artists like Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, and Kane Brown, who are all at the top of their game—and who all made history last year by becoming the first Black artist to win New Male Artist at the Academy of Country Music Awards, the first Black woman to host the ACM Awards, and the first Black solo artist to win Video of the Year at the ACA, respectively.

I’m also thinking of incredibly talented artists like Jon Batiste, who received a record-breaking 11 Grammy nominations and six wins earlier this year, but who also receives little regular recognition from Black platforms.
If these and other institutions wish to maintain their status as cultural pillars and go-to’s, it may be beneficial for them to begin by reframing, redesigning, and/or enlarging what and who we consider worthy of recognition and plaudits in the realm of Black entertainment.

It’s one thing to know and understand that Blackness isn’t monolithic on a conceptual level; it’s quite another to acknowledge, accept, and act on it. Let’s hope that as time goes on, we can all improve on the latter.

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