Ahead of BET Awards, Lil Nas X Alleges ‘Painful’ History With Network

Lil Nas X’s criticism of BET after not garnering any nominations at this year’s BET Awards has arguably overshadowed the awards themselves. Nas has made his disapproval plentifully clear, from noting “the bigger problem of homophobia in the black community” earlier this month, to the release of the song “Late to Da Party” on Friday complete with a “Fuck BET” chorus line and album artwork featuring a urine-soaked BET Award in a toilet.

The surprise shutout, however, wasn’t the beginning of any skirmish between Lil Nas X and BET, but rather the latest in an already shaky relationship over a year in the making. As the grammy-winning rapper and multiple members of his team claim to Rolling Stones, before getting the go-ahead to perform at last year’s award show — where Lil Nas X would make headlines after kissing one of his backing dancers during his performance — BET was hesitant when booking Nas, asking for his team’s confirmation that he wasn’t a “satanist or devil worshiper,” the rapper claims. And after Nas finished his performance, the kiss seems left certain network producers upset.

“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,” Lil Nas X tells Rolling Stones in a statement. “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 a statement to Rolling Stones, a BET spokesperson said 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,” the rep adds. “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.”

Nas’s statement marks the latest and most complex in his barbs at BET. After the network announced its nominees for Sunday’s award show, Nas posted several since-deleted tweets criticizing his lack of nominations despite releasing several hits off one of the most acclaimed albums of last year. “Thank you BET awards. An outstanding zero nominations again,” he tweeted. “Black excellence!”

In another since-deleted tweet, he wrote, “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.”

BET issued a statement following Nas’s criticism, referring to his Best New Artist nomination in 2020 and defending this year’s nominations by noting that it’s their voting body and not the network itself that selects the nominees. “BET’s Voting Academy … 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,” the network said. “No one from

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Best running gear: top gadgets to keep you motivated | Gadgets

Running is a great way to keep fit this summer and needs a little more than some trainers and a pavement or a park. But even the most enthusiastic of us need some way to keep motivated for regular exercise when the couch, TV or sun lounger looks inviting.

These gadgets can help: from music on the go to the social power of Strava, they make pounding the streets a little more interesting.


A woman running with a phone in an armband and earphones.
Strapping your phone to your bicep in an armband helps keep it secure and out of the way when you run. Photograph: Cultura Creative (RF)/Alamy

Music or podcasts can help you eat up the miles with a bit of entertainment, but holding your phone while you run is not a comfortable way to do things.

Armband phone pockets are one solution. Strapped to your bicep with Velcro and a clear pouch, they let you work your phone and listen to music. They cost about £6-10 and come in various sizes. Or you can use an old MP3 player such as an iPod Shuffle if you still have one around.

Better yet, switch to a wearable music player with a running or smartwatch. Most good smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and others, can store music offline for playback straight to a set of Bluetooth headphones.

The Spotify app showing a running playlist on an Apple Watch.
Spotify and other music apps on smartwatches such as the Apple Watch can play music straight to a set of Bluetooth earphones without your phone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

If you don’t already have a smartwatch and want something for running, there are many different options. One of my favorites is the Garmin 245 Music, which offers excellent tracking, can store hours of music offline from Spotify, Deezer or others, and can be picked up for about £200.

While you can run with almost any headphones, including AirPods or large over-ear sets, there are models that are better designed for running. I recommend Bluetooth sets that don’t block out the world, allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings.

Shokz OpenRun Pro

A pair of Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones sitting on their nylon case.
Bone conduction headphones sit over your ears and vibrate your skull to transmit sound waves to your inner ear, bypassing your ear drum. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Bone conduction headphones send sound waves through your skull instead of your ear drum, making the music sound like it is coming from inside your head while maintaining your awareness of the outside world. Shokz makes some of the best, with lightweight, comfortable designs, long battery life and easy-to-reach onboard controls for playback and volume. They are the only headphones approved by England Athletics for races, too.

The latest £160 OpenRun Pro last up to 10 hours between charges, can Bluetooth pair to two devices at once, weigh only 29g and are IP55 water-resistant so you can safely sweat all over them. They sound good, with more bass than previous models, but bone conduction technology can’t match regular earbuds for low notes. The older £130 OpenRun are similar,

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