I have to admit, I absolutely love this. The media and popular culture have created a monster in Lil Nas X, and now he’s uncontrollable. I can’t think of a more appropriate narrative for 2022 than the BET Awards—which of course were founded in their entirety to be inclusive to Black artists—being called out for their lack of inclusivity.
The BET Award are Sunday (6-26), and Lil Nas X is angry that he was not nominated for any awards. On June 1st when the nominations were announced, he tweeted out “thank you bet awards. an outstanding zero nominations again. black excellence.” He later deleted the tweet as part of a series of missives ranting about his lack of nominations, but then a week later released a “diss track” to social media, saying “fuck BET.” This is also when Lil Nas X started pushing the idea that he wasn’t being bitter for not being nominated, but that it was blatant homophobia at BET that kept him from being considered for any awards in 2022.
But this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why? Because Lil Nas X has been nominated for and won BET Awards in the past, and well after he came out as gay.
At the 2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards, Lil Nas X was both nominated and won Single of the Year, as well as Best Collaborative Duo or Group for his remix of “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus. At the 2020 BET Awards, he was nominated for both Best New Artist, and Best New Hip-Hop Artist. Then in 2021, he was nominated for both Best Hip-Hop Video and Impact Track for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
If you’re keeping track, that is six total nominations, and two wins in total from the BET Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards. Lil Nas X has also performed multiple times on BET Awards presentations. So when he said in his initial statement, “an outstanding zero nominations again,” this is just incorrect.
We’re now supposed to believe that despite all these accolades BET has bestowed to Lil Nas X in the past, all of a sudden and out of the blue, BET has decided to discriminate against a guy they previously honored, solely because he’s gay? It seems extremely, extremely implausible, especially since organizations like BET are going out of their way to specifically honor LGBT performers as opposed to vice versa, just like they’ve done for Lil Nas X in the past. They nominated his “Montero” video specifically, which is the one where he simulates sex with Satan. So if they had some issue with his sexuality, it probably would have come up then, and didn’t. They recognized it.
Maybe the BET voters just thought there were better artists and projects this time around. BET said in a statement, “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.”
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 will jump right into the fray on your behalf, because that’s what will make them look erudite to their constituencies. Meanwhile, this situation really shows off the irony and trappings of the “woke” agenda. You can never be woke enough, and eventually the woke mob will come for you, no matter how woke you happen to be yourself, including one of the most woke media entities out there in BET.
What does all of this have to do with country music? Because this is a similar grift that was perpetrated in 2018 when Billboard decided to remove “Old Town Road” from their country charts because he was found to have purposely manipulated the system, and for some reason, the entirety of country music was accused of being racist for it. In fact, the one entity that actually had anything to do with it—Billboard—was virtually spared from any of the criticism or discussion surrounding the matter. It was all foisted upon country music in general.
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And similar to the BET situation, whenever people bring up the Lil Nas X and how “country music” screwed him over, they fail to mention that the Country Music Association, or CMAs, actually nominated and eventually awarded Lil Nas X (and Billy Ray Cyrus) for Musical Event of the Year for “Old Town Road” in 2019. That’s right, Lil Nas X is a CMA Award winner, while Country Music Hall of Famer’s Marty Robbins and Tom T. Hall 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 was any question still remaining if Lil Nas X was an honest broker, it should be eliminated with his dishonest, and unfounded attack on the BET Awards. Are the BET Awards a reputable organization? My guess is just like every awards organization, they’re likely issues with corruption. But Lil Nas X has been a beneficiary of that system in the past, and may be a beneficiary of it in the future.
Of course Lil Nas X is being both ungrateful for the praise BET has given him in the past (he later urinated on one of his BET awards), and being self-absorbed for needing the praise and acceptance of any awards apparatus. But there’s also the possibility Lil Nas X is glad he wasn’t nominated, because he can get way more mileage out of posing as a victim as opposed to potentially winning some award. This story has been entertainment media’s obsession for the better part of a month. Once again this guy is driving the narrative, as the media incapable of critical thought does his bidding.
You really have to give Lil Nas X some credit. This dude is the ultimate troll, working the captured media, working the algorithms, and playing popular culture trends perfectly to his benefit. His music is nothing more than meme, but he’s exploited the medium to enrich himself to the tune of millions of dollars.
Maybe BET voters finally became attune to the realities of Lil Nas X’s grift and voted for actual artists contributing something more meaningful to Black music. BET still may have its own problems, and country music most certainly isn’t a vessel of virtue either. But Lil Nas X’s criticism, or the criticism coming from the media on his behalf is peak lunacy. Lil Nas X is exploiting the irrational moment we’re living for financial enrichment and attention, and nobody will question him because they don’t want to be labeled homophobic. He’s a brilliant artist, unquestionably. A brilliant con artist.