Soon thereafter, artists took to Twitter to speak on BET and the nominations. Breezy thanked BET and his fans, “Thx to BET for all the support and I love teambreezy.” Keyshia Cole and Trina, on the other hand, weren’t as happy on the nods. “Fuck BET,” Trina simply said.
The nominees for the best female hip-hop artist category, in which Trina would be nominated for if eligible, were Nicki Minaj, Diamond, Lola Munroe and Cymphonique ( Master P‘s daughter). I was a bit shocked myself, considering each of the nominee’s sales and pop culture impact and that of Trina’s. Thankfully, the backlash has died down but the question still remains: why were these four women nominated over Trina?
BET’s president of programming, music and specials, Stephen Hill, took time to talk to Billboard.com’s The Juice on the ‘2011 BET Awards’ nomination process and Trina’s backlash against BET.
The Juice: First, how do you feel about Chris Brown leading the nominations?
Stephen Hill: I was pleasantly surprised. He’s come back with hits. He’s obviously very poplar. But also what it shows that the industry and fans recognized what he did.
Explain the nomination process behind the BET Awards.
Hill: We have an eligibility period [which] is April 1st of one year to March 31st of the next year. For music categories, anybody who submits a video to us and that first airing of that video occurs between April 1st of one year to March 31st of the next year is eligible for that years nominations. We have a voting academy that is comprised of 150 experts from the recording entertainment industry [including] media, bloggers and fans who we invite to join the academy through BET.com. They all get electronic ballots and are asked to pick 5 people in each category [from those who submitted]. The votes are tallied up by a third party. We change the members of the academy [every year], the fans always change.
Why are there only four artists nominated for the best female hip-hop artist category?
Hill: Much to my dismay, we had a total of four artists who submitted videos during the eligibility period (April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2011). We had four women submit videos where they were the leads, not as a feature but as a lead: Nicki Minaj, Diamond, Cymphonique and Lola Monroe. Since we usually have five people who are eligible in the category and we only had four people… it’s kind of easy math.
The Lola Monroe video features Trina, but as feature that doesn’t make you eligible for a piece of work under your own name.
Were you shocked when BET received backalsh against the nominations, specifically from Trina?
Hill: We strive to be fair and thorough. We’re not perfect but we strive. So when we got this heat around an artist that wasn’t eligible. We took it to heart cause we care about our audience and artists.
The last video we received from her, where she’s the lead, unfortunately that video came in the 2010 eligibility. There’s been no video eligible for nomination in 2011. It’s a really easy answer. She’s been nominated before, I’m sure she’ll be nominated again, [but] during this eligibility period she had no video that was submitted to BET.
Have you spoken to Trina?
I have reached out to Trina. I’ve tried to make a connection just so we can have a conversation. I want her to have the correct information. We all work together we will be working together again. If Trina was eligible, I think we’d all agree that she would have been nominated.
Nicki Minaj shared concern on Trina’s absence via Twitter…
Hill: I think she was giving a shout out to Trina. Who I know she has a lot of respect for. I applaud that camaraderie. Trina also congratulated Diamond. You don’t ever want anyone saying ‘F’ BET,’ but if from that comes more camaraderie…. then it’s all good.
What about Keyshia Cole‘s reaction?
Hill: This one’s a tough one. We simply had to go, as we always do, with the artists who got the most votes in that [best female R&B artist] category. The nominations consist of the artists that got the top votes in that category when put to our voting academy. If there is six nominations in a category that means there was a tie.
People are asking why Beyoncé is nominated. Beyoncé submitted a video for “Why Don’t You Love Me” early May of 2010. She submitted one video remaining from her “I Am… Sasha Fierce” project. That was the last video she submitted and it was submitted during this year’s eligibility period. She was voted on the strength of that one video even though the bulk of that project was the year before.