The inaugural BET Awards took place in Las Vegas Tuesday night with the big winner being none other than Michael Jackson. Well not really, but the pop star's influence was obvious in some of the performances as well as in the outfits.
Usher and Sisqó appropriated some of MJ's trademark gyrations and foot shuffles for their performances of "U Remind Me" and "Can I Live," respectively, while AJ from BET's 106 & Park wore sparkling jeans that looked like they were straight from the wardrobe closet of the Jacksons' Victory Tour. The eeriest Michael Jackson impression, though, came courtesy of Jodeci's Devante Swing.
Coming out with his group members K-Ci, JoJo and Mr. Dalvin, Swing who wore burgundy snakeskin pants with a matching jacket resembled MJ circa 1990 with his mullet-with-bangs hairstyle.
Jodeci who once again publicized that their reunion album would be out before the end of the year were on hand to announce the winner for Best Male Group. Swing seemed more concerned with making love to the camera as he wandered about the stage, stopping to grab his package a few times, before joining his boys to declare Outkast the winners.
The ATLiens, who recently completed a remix of Janet Jackson's "Someone to Call My Lover," also took home the award for Video of the Year for "Ms. Jackson," beating out Janet's "All for You," Eminem's "Stan," Dr. Dre's "Next Episode" and Destiny's Child's "Independent Women, Part I."
Lil' Bow Wow crip-walked (he opened his performance of the song with a c-walking exhibition) his way to the Viewers' Choice Award for "Bow Wow (That's My Name)," while Eve, who performed "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" with Gwen Stefani, won Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.
Jay-Z stood atop the heap as Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and performed his verse from R. Kelly's "Fiesta Remix" while R. chimed in with ad libs via a video tape that was played on a huge screen. The Jiggaman then went into "Give It to Me" and was joined on stage by Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Sparks, before Snoop Dogg, Tha Eastsidaz and the St. Lunatics followed Jay's beckoning to join the party. For his finale, Jay Hova surprised everyone by previewing "H to the Izzo," from his September 25 release of the tentatively tiled The Blueprint.
The song featured Jay who's scheduled to go on trial in July for allegedly stabbing Lance "Un" Rivera striking back at his detractors and promising to "beat them charges like Rocky" before rapping "Not guilty/ Y'all got ta feel me" in the chorus.
Christina Aguilera sang "Run to You" and Luther Vandross performed his rendition of "All the Man That I Need" (changing it to "All the Woman That I Need") in tribute to Whitney Houston, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
MTVi's parent company, Viacom, also owns BET.
The winners of the BET Awards:
- Best Male Hip-Hop Artist - Jay-Z
- Best New Artist - Nelly
- Best Actress - Sanaa Lathan
- Best Female Group - Destiny's Child
- Best Male R&B Artist - Musiq Soulchild
- Best Male Group - Outkast
- Video of the Year - Outkast, "Ms. Jackson"
- Best Actor - Denzel Washington, "Remember the Titans"
- Best Female Hip-Hop Artist - Eve
- Best Male Athlete - Allen Iverson
- Best Female Athlete - Marion Jones
- Viewers' Choice: Lil' Bow Wow, "Bow Wow (That's My Name)"
- Best Gospel Artist - Donnie McClurkin
- Best Female R&B Artist - Mary J. Blige