The 2022 BET Awards have come and gone and aside from a t-shirt worn by Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X was not present. This whole saga has bothered Lil Nas X, of course, but now he has said his “painful and strained” relationship with BET actually started before he didn’t receive any award nominations from them this year.
In a statement, the rapper told Rolling Stone, “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. 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.”
In response, a BET spokesperson said the “summation of events around Lil Nas X’s 2021 BET Awards performance is simply untrue” and added, “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.”
That said, an anonymous member of Nas’ team told Rolling Stone of the immediate response to Nas’ 2021 BET Awards performance (the one where he kissed one of his dancers, by the way), “At some point after [Nas] got offstage, 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.’”
Nas added, “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.”
Jack Harlow is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.