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Lil Nas X opens up about "painful" relationship with BET

Following much criticism from the rapper, Lil Nas X has revealed further details about his complex relationship with Black Entertainment Television (BET). Back in June, the rapper took to Twitter to explain why he’d been excluded from this year’s BET Awards shortlist, writing that he’d received “an outstanding zero nominations again”.

In a follow-up tweet, Lil Nas said that he was taking the opportunity to address “the bigger problem of homophobia in the Black community”. Now, he’s shared a new single called ‘Late To Da Party’, a collaboration with YoungBoy Never Broke Again, which sees the pair chant “Fuck BET.” The single’s cover art also depicts a BET Award being urinated on.

BET responded to Lis Nas’ criticisms by pointing out that BET employees aren’t part of the Voting Academy for the award. In a statement, the awards body said: “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.”

The rapper, who was previously nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 BETs, has since revealed that h has a “painful” history with the organisation. “My relationship with BET has been painful and strained for quite some time,” Lis Nas X said during a conversation with Rolling Stone. “It didn’t start with this year’s nominations like most people might think. 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.”

Before the 2021 BET awards, Lis Nas X was the subject of controversy after he made a video for ‘Montero’ in which he was depicted giving a lapdance to the devil. The rapper also partnered with art collective MSCXHF to release special edition Nike “Satan Shoes”. In a lawsuit settled later that year, it was found that the shoes contained drops of human blood.

A source close to BET later told Rolling Stone: “The response we got [from BET] 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. When Nas created ‘Montero,’ he knew what he was doing.” they continued. “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.”