The BET awards are an award show by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate black excellence in the entertainment industry. The show was established in 2001 and has been going strong since. I was a totally interested in watching this year since I’ve gotten into hip-hop music.

The list of nominees included some of my favorite rappers like Megan thee Stallion, Lil Baby, Migos, and… Jack Harlow? I noticed Harlow was posting his nominations for the BET awards as well and I was confused, to say the least. Why was he nominated in an award show for black excellence?

He received three nominations: Best collaboration, best new artist, and best male pop artist.

I love Jack Harlow, he’s one of my favorite upcoming rappers. But some wonder if it’s appropriate for him to receive attention in this space of the BET awards. He has contributed to the hip-hop community, but this award show is more than just about music. It’s about focusing on how the black community has affected entertainment, which many other award shows may not shed light on as much.

Here are some popular black artists that could fill in for his nominations:

Lil Nas X – Best Male Pop Artist

Harlow was nominated for three awards while Lil Nas X wasn’t nominated for anything. I feel like he’d fit in this category because he knows how to perform. It’s obvious all the time he puts into his work. Its also pretty commendable the way he uses his platform to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Lil Nas X Makes Out With Dancer at 2021 BET Awards | Billboard

Tic Tac by Future and Lil Uzi Vert– Best Collaboration

This track was just an iconic 2020 song. It gained popularity from a Tik Tok dance. I mean, who doesn’t like the infamous Future and Lil Uzi collab? Uzi is one of my favorite artists and I honestly feel he deserved to be included.

Lil Uzi Vert and Future share teaser trailer for upcoming collaborative  project

Iann Dior – Best New Artist

Iann Dior has been dropping nothing but hits the past year. You may recognize his songs as viral tik tok sounds. Topping the charts with songs like “Mood” and “gone girl”. He collaborates with a range of different artists like 24kgoldn to Machine Gun Kelly. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t see his name more on the list of nominations.

Track by Track: iann dior – I'm Gone EP | Dork

Jack Harlow has had a huge year: he dropped the “What’s Poppin” and his new album is getting views like never before. He deserves any award he’s nominated for. But in a space that is supposed to be dedicated to black entertainment, these nominations take away from the black artists.

So the question still stands: why did the BET awards allow him to be nominated in the first place? He creates hip-hop music for a predominantly black audience. But the hip-hop culture was developed by the black community and is an authentic expression of the black experience. Harlow has not been through, and will never go through, the hurdles that black entertainers go through just because his skin color. This award show gives the black artists the full attention that they deserve. Let’s hope the rightful winner will be celebrated!

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