See pinned comment below for the longer version.
The short version is that I had no intention of publishing this footage… until Benzino changed my mind.
Lil Nas X was the main event at the BET Music Awards in June 2021, where he performed his hit single “Montero.” He closed out that performance by kissing one of his male dancers. I know, right? Oh, heavens. What has the world come to. Two grown men kissing each other on TV? On BET, that last bastion of morality on cable? Someone had better call Benzino. He always has misplaced outrage to spare. I mean, his kid could see that and turn gay himself! Or even worse, he might become tolerant of people who are differen. Maybe even accepting! No! Benzino needed to step up and Parent.
He took to Instagram: “That s# BET pulled yesterday was lame asf. It was too uncomfortable, too irresponsible, too forced and too irrelevant to the awards. Homie ain’t even hot like that for music anymore anyway. It’s a shame what all this is comming [sic] to.” Taking inspiration from luminary of love Louis Farrakhan, Benzino even referred to Lil’ Nas’ music as “Satanic.”
“I bought ol town road for ZINO [his son], he knows every word but all the satanic s#. I’m just not with. I mean how do you explain s# like this to your kid? I got nothing but respect and love for the gay community but that ain’t it, I could see if he was pooping [huh?] but it was unexpected and unnecessary. I didn’t care for the Madonna kiss either. I could see if they way dating. Now I hope I don’t offend anyone because this post wasn’t meant for that. It’s just my opinion of the production. Only God judges.”
Benzino subsequently learned that there are, in fact, judges other than the big dude in the sky. He caught a lot of well-deserved heat and deleted his own Instagram post. Then Instagram deleted his account, though I am not sure if that was in relation to this particular incident. Believe it or not, I rarely pay attention to the guy.
But I did see his subsequent doubling-down non-apology apology interview. Which prompted me to revisit the Red Roof Inn footage. It was exactly as I had remembered. This is it.
And yes, I understand that two men sharing a motel room does not mean that they had their own Montero. To loosely quote Benzino, “It’s the optics of the situation.” Couple that with the reality that he contrasted himself and his companion to an imaginary white couple named John and Bill Summerfield (who for some reason are exempt from checkout times) along with some other clues, and I guess it’s possible that they were just planning Benzino’s next diss track. But, y’know, the optics.
Benzino, gay people were definitely around when you were younger. The “movement,” as you call it, has existed for a remarkably long time. (Approximately forever, give or take a few years.) I am sorry if you didn’t get to be yourself—I don’t know what that’s like, but it sounds pretty terrible. The thing is, that doesn’t excuse the way you act. Times have changed, man. Get with them. For your own sake, if not for everyone else’s.
In the words of the great Ali G, “Without realness, we is nothing.”