I have to admit I absolutely love this. The media and popular culture created a monster in Lil Nas X, and now he’s uncontrollable. I can’t think of a more fitting narrative for 2022 than that of the BET Awards — which of course were created in their entirety to include Black artists — being called out for their lack of inclusivity.
The BET Awards takes place on Sunday (6-26) and Lil Nas X is furious that he wasn’t nominated for any awards. On June 1, when the nominations were announced, he tweeted “Thank you betting awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence.” He later deleted the tweet as part of a series of letters ranting about his lack of nominations, but then released a week later, “Diss track‘ to social media and said ‘fuck BET’. It’s also at this point that Lil Nas X started promoting the idea that he wasn’t bitter about not being nominated, but that it was blatant homophobia at BET that kept him from being considered for any awards in 2022.
But that makes absolutely no sense. Why? Because Lil Nas X has been nominated and won BET Awards in the past, and long after he came out as gay.
At the 2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards, Lil Nas X was nominated for Single of the Year and Best Collaborative Duo or Group for his remix of “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus. He was nominated for both Best New Artist and Best New Hip-Hop Artist at the 2020 BET Awards. In 2021 he was nominated for both Best Hip-Hop Video and Impact Track for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”.
If you keep track of that, that’s a total of six nominations and a total of two wins at the BET Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards. Lil Nas X has also made multiple appearances at BET Awards presentations. So when he said in his first statement: “an outstanding zero nominations again‘ That’s just wrong.
Are we now supposed to believe that despite all these awards BET has bestowed on Lil Nas X in the past, suddenly and out of the blue, BET decided to discriminate against a previously honored guy just because he’s gay? It seems extremely, extremely implausible, especially since organizations like BET go out of their way to explicitly honor LGBT performers as opposed to the other way around, just like they’ve done for Lil Nas X in the past. They specifically nominated his “Montero” video in which he simulates sex with Satan. So if they had an issue with his sexuality, it probably would have surfaced then and not. You recognized it.
Maybe BET voters just thought there were better artists and projects this time around. BET said in a statement, “At BET, we are passionate advocates of 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.”
But of course if you can’t be good, be a victim and the media will carry your water and rarely question the validity of your claims. In fact, they’ll jump right into the fray for you because that will make them seem learned for their constituencies. In the meantime, this situation really shows the irony and trappings of the “awakened” agenda. You can never be bright enough and eventually the bright mob will come for you no matter how bright you are yourself, including one of the brightest media units out there in BET.
What does all this have to do with country music? Because this is a similar scam that was perpetrated in 2018 when billboard decided to remove “Old Town Road” from their country charts because it was found that he had deliberately rigged the system and for some reason all country music was accused of being racist. In fact, the only entity that actually had anything to do with it was –billboard– was virtually spared any criticism or discussion surrounding the matter. It’s all been foisted on country music in general.
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And similar to the BET situation, when people talk about Lil Nas X and how “Country Music” likes him, they fail to mention that the Country Music Association or CMAs actually nominated and eventually honored Lil Nas X (and Billy Ray). Cyrus) for Music Event of the Year for “Old Town Road” in 2019. That’s right, Lil Nas X is a CMA honoree, while Marty Robbins of the Country Music Hall of Famer and Tom T. Hall have never won one, future Hall of Famers Dwight Yoakam, Gene Watson and Rosanne Cash never won one, along with a dozen other high-profile country stars.
If there were still questions about whether Lil Nas X was an honest broker, his dishonest and baseless attack on the BET Awards should put it to rest. Are the BET Awards a reputable organization? My guess is that as with any awards organization, there are likely to be issues with corruption. But Lil Nas X has been a beneficiary of this system in the past and could be a beneficiary of it in the future as well.
Of course, Lil Nas X is both ungrateful for the kudos BET has given him in the past (he later urinated on one of his BET awards) and self-absorbed at needing the kudos and acceptance of all the awards apparatus. But there’s also a chance that Lil Nas X is glad he wasn’t nominated because he can get a lot more out of posing as a victim than possibly winning an award. This story was the entertainment media obsession for almost a month. Once again, this guy drives the narrative while the media, incapable of critical thinking, does his bidding.
You really have to give Lil Nas X credit. This guy is the ultimate troll, manipulating the captured media, manipulating the algorithms, and playing popular culture trends perfectly to his advantage. His music is nothing more than memes, but he uses the medium to enrich himself by millions of dollars.
Perhaps BET voters have finally adjusted to the realities of Lil Nas X’s machinations and voted for real artists who are bringing something more meaningful to black music. BET may still have its own issues, and country music is certainly not a vessel of virtue either. But the criticism of Lil Nas X, or the criticism that comes on his behalf from the media, is absolute madness. Lil Nas X are exploiting the irrational moment we’re living in for financial gain and attention, and no one will question them because they don’t want to be labeled homophobic. He is undoubtedly a brilliant artist. A brilliant scammer.