Quantcast
Lil Nas X stands on stage holding a black sparkly mic in a one sleeve diamond encrusted see-thru crop top exposing his abs and Black pants
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Opinion: Lil Nas X Has A Right To Be Mad

We need to talk about homophobia in the Black community

Culture & Entertainment

BET just released the 2022 BET Awards nominations and Lil Nas X is nowhere on the list, while the white rapper Jack Harlow is up for Best Male Hip Hop Artist.


Lil Nas X is arguably the biggest star of the last three years. Between having a 16-time platinum-selling record, the longest running number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 and the most talked about music video of the last half decade, it’s safe to say that he IS the moment.

Even BET has recognized his positioning in recent times, nominating him for an award in 2020 and having him perform in 2021, causing one of the most talked-about moments of the award ceremony when he passionately kissed his male background dancer at the end of the performance. Lil Nas X has continued to rise since then, releasing a critically and commercially successful debut album Montero in 2021. Instead of acknowledging that success, BET opted to nominate the white guy whose monumental rise began with a feature on Lil Nas X’s third Billboard Hot 100 number one song, “Industry Baby.”

This is no disrespect to Jack Harlow either. He’s had a phenomenal year and none of this is technically his fault, but it’s hard to see the snubbing of one of the biggest artists–let alone one of the biggest Black queer artists– as anything but a slap in the face.

Lil Nas X said as much on Twitter when he called out BET’s snubs. “[H]ow can [I] get acknowledged by the most acclaimed award show in the world [the Grammys] and then not even just 1 nomination from my own people? [I]s that not crazy?”

When others responded that BET has celebrated queer artists Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator, he shared, “Can we admit queer men are more respected when they do less feminine things or am [I] making that up?”

It’s a tale we know too well and is indicative of the way the majority of the mainstream Black community sees Black Queer people: You’re unworthy unless you tone down the “gay shit.”

Even as he was being gaslit with Twitter responses pointing to a myriad of nonsensical reasons for why he was not being celebrated at BET, Lil Nas X stood firm.

“[T]his not over no [BET] award this is about the bigger problem of homophobia in the [B]lack community, y’all can sit and pretend all u want but imma risk it all for us,” he Tweeted.

There is a well-documented culture of homophobia and queerphobia in Black mainstream spaces. BET and Viacom were hit with a lawsuit from trans media personality B. Scott in 2013 for workplace discrimination after B. Scott was told that they weren’t dressed “masculine” enough to host the red carpet at the 2013 BET Awards and was forced to change their clothes. Scott ended up settling out of court and is now the host of BET’s Twenties After Show with B. Scott.

In 2020, the NAACP Image Awards (also aired on BET) received backlash for nominating Meghan McCain, who has openly spewed anti-Black sentiments on The View, instead of recognizing any of the five Black and brown trans stars of the historic FX series Pose. The NAACP has also awarded actress Gina Rodriguez multiple NAACP Image awards despite her usage of the N-word online in 2019. Morning radio show The Breakfast Club has a long history of mistreating multiple Black queer guests, as does podcaster Joe Budden, whose latest offense is the abominations that he called “questions” that he asked sexually fluid rapper Isaiah Rashad during their sit down interview. Black mainstream platforms have consistently proven to be unsafe places for the Black LGBTQ community.

At the root of homophobia is white supremacy and when mainstream Black platforms deny Black queer people access to these spaces, they are upholding that racist framework. Allowing white and non Black people— especially those who have been anti-Black— to permeate spaces meant to uplift Black folks, creates a false sense of proximity to whiteness. Homophobia, much like racism, is a learned behavior, not an instinctive one. The idea that being queer is “wrong” comes from generations of instilling those beliefs in our ancestors through white interpretations of Christianity which were then passed down for generations in the Black community. Homophobia is so deeply ingrained in our community that we’ve completely forgotten the fact that it wasn’t an African belief to begin with. This is why its pervasiveness is so confusing.

This belief in heteronormativity is in every fabric of our community, our discourse, our award shows and our platforms, despite the Black community claiming to be making attempts at dismantling white supremacy by building and servicing our own. To be homophobic is to simultaneously be anti-Black. To prioritize white and non-Black people over Black queer people is anti-Black.

Still, Lil Nas X is taking the controversy and turning it into dollar signs for himself. In response to the snub, the star has released a snippet of a BET diss track with rapper NBA Youngboy, aptly titled “Late to Da Party”: “Everything I do, bitch right or wrong, gon’ make a profit,” he raps.

BET responded to the snub backlash in a statement: “We love Lil Nas X. 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.

“Unfortunately, this year, he was not nominated by BET’s Voting Academy, which is comprised of an esteemed group of nearly 500 entertainment professionals in the fields of music, television, film, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, influencers, and creative arts. No one from BET serves as a member of the Voting Academy.”

Black queer folks are no longer seeking out the acceptance of the mainstream Black community and Black platforms. And while we're still being blocked from accessing some spaces in a large capacity, we still have the talent and the capabilities to make shit shake. As Lil Nas X has shown, despite the disrespect, Black queer people will continue taking up space, whether they give it to us willingly or we have to snatch it from homophobic hands.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Pablo the Don is a guest writer.

Steve Harvey Writes Love Letter To Marjorie Harvey In Honor Of Their 15-Year Anniversary

Steve Harvey has never been shy about professing his love for his wife Marjorie Harvey. Over the years, the comedian has shouted out his queen and credited her for his continued success. The couple will be celebrating 15 years of marriage on June 25 and in honor of the special occasion, the CelebrityFamily Feud host shared a love letter to his wife that was published in the July/August 2022 issue of Good Housekeeping.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
A Black woman in a white bathrobe with a white towel wrapped around her head smiles

With a YouTube channel that boasts millions of views from her hair and skincare tutorials, beauty influencer Candice Jones knows what it takes to look great on the outside. But when it came to her mental wellbeing, Jones started feeling a disconnect. “Because a lot of the things that I was seeing on social media like: take a bath, pour you some wine,” Jones tells xoNecole about her initial attempts at self-care. “I was doing all of those aesthetic things, but it wasn't making me feel better.”

Keep reading...Show less
We Are Still Under SZA's CTRL

This month, SZA released the deluxe version of her debut album CTRL in observance of the fifth year anniversary of the album’s release. Featuring previously unreleased tracks, including an alternate version of “Love Galore,” which fans got an opportunity to hear during one of the Grammy-winning singer’s live performances, the revamped collection of songs has given fans a chance to reflect on life when the album first came out vs. now.

Keep reading...Show less
This Full-Time Content Creator Went From Making $15 An Hour To Six Figures In A Year

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.

Full-time content creator Yvette Corinne has made waves in the content creation space. On the outside looking in, while some might feel like you have to have hundreds of thousands of followers in order to make a full-time living as an influencer, Yvette has managed to bring in six figures with a highly engaged Instagram community of more than 24,000 followers. And how did she do it? Well, her journey to wealth wasn't one without struggle. The Los Angeles-based micro-influencer got her start in content creation through blogging in 2016. That would lead to her growing her following on Instagram, which allowed her to balance her part-time retail job with being a part-time content creator.

Keep reading...Show less
Taraji P. Henson Wants A ‘Stress-Free’ Life After 50

Taraji P. Henson has been putting work in Hollywood for decades before finally getting her flowers after she landed her most beloved role as Loretha “Cookie” Lyon on Fox’s Empire. Before Empire, however, she starred in the cult classic Baby Boy in 2001, the 2005 film Hustle & Flow, and the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where she claimed she only made $40,000 and starred in many other roles. She has also released her own natural hair care line TPH by Taraji in 2020.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
A Black woman looks into the camera and gives a closed-mouth smile. She's wearing a black turtleneck

Miss Diddy Kicks Off BET Awards Weekend With 'A Toast To Black Hollywood'

Her annual event to celebrate the culture has a new name and more intention than ever before

Latest Posts