Lil Nas X Details ‘Strained’ Relationship With BET Network

Lil Nas X recently expanded on the details of his relationship with the BET network after he called them out for not gaining any nominations at this year’s award ceremony. “My relationship with BET has been painful and strained for quite some time. It didn’t start with this year’s nominations like most people might think.”

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Lil Nas X recently released his new single “Late To Da Party” in which he repeatedly proclaims “F*ck BET” throughout the chorus. The album art for the single also features a BET Award in the toilet being urinated on. The criticism stems from the BET network not giving Lil Nas X any nominations at this year’s award ceremony, but according to the rapper the strained relationship with the network stems back to his initial debut as an artist. 

The Grammy award winning rapper and multiple members of his team spoke to Rolling Stone recently to detail the complex past between Nas and BET that led up to all of the current animosity. 

Lil Nas X performed at the BET Awards last year, however, the network was hesitant to book him as they were worried he was a “satanist or devil worshiper” following the release of the music video “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).” In the performance itself, Nas kissed one of his male backup dancers, which allegedly left certain network producers quite upset.

“My relationship with BET has been painful and strained for quite some time. They did let me perform on their show last year, but only after [I gave] assurances that I was not a Satanist or devil worshiper, and that my performance would be appropriate for their audience.”

A BET spokesperson told Rolling Stone that the “summation of events around Lil Nas X’s 2021 BET Awards performance is simply untrue. Since last year’s performance we have been in touch to work on other projects. We are still excited about his previous performances and continue to wish him well. But today, we are focused on culture’s biggest night and delivering history-making moments for fans worldwide.” 

After the BET network announced the nominees for this year’s Awards, Nas posted several now-deleted tweets criticizing his lack of nominations despite releasing several chart-topping hits and one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the year. 

“Thank you BET awards. An outstanding zero nominations again,” he tweeted. “Black excellence! … I just feel like black gay ppl have to fight to be seen in this world and even when we make it to the top mfs try to pretend we are invisible,” Nas tweeted. 

Following the criticism from Nas and fans, BET issued a statement defending this year’s nominations and explaining the process in which nominations are chosen. 

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“BET’s Voting Academy … is composed 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, and no one cheered louder that night than BET during Lil Nas X’s 2021 performance.”

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Lil Nas X faced a lot of backlash and controversy after releasing the “MONTERO” music video. Many religious conservatives criticized Nas for giving the Devil a lap dance and releasing “Satan shoes” with the company MSCHF, infused with drops of human blood. Nas was accused of satanic worship, and the backlash caused BET to rethink if they wanted him to perform in 2021.

An anonymous team member for Nas told Rolling Stone: “The response we got back was, ‘We need to clarify a few things. ‘Is he a Satanist? Are there going to be elements of devil worship or Satan in the show?’ I was so taken aback by it. We’d been fielding those questions from people for months by that point after the video and the shoes, and of course the answer was no and we obviously got the slot. But it blew our minds.”

“When Nas created ‘Montero,’ he knew what he was doing. He wanted to create a queer-pop anthem. He wanted to make a statement based on what he’s heard from people probably his whole life as a gay man. That statement was very clear to me. But they’ve all missed the message so much that all they see is the devil. There was no contemplation that this was what he’s always heard and that now he’s embracing it,” the team member explained. 

Following the performance, another team member told Rolling Stone that certain members of the BET production team were not happy about the direction Nas took the performance. “After he got off stage, one of the BET producers came up to me and before I could even open my mouth he looked at me and said ‘that was really f*cked up.” 

“They say that ‘no one cheered louder’ for me than them that night, but the BET Awards team was actually very upset that I kissed my dancer onstage and vocalized their discontent with multiple members of my team immediately following the performance,” Lil Nas X told Rolling Stone.