HOLLYWOOD Pass the Courvoisier, because plenty of people have reason to celebrate after the second annual BET Awards here Tuesday.
Black Entertainment Network spread the love at its elegant yet
rambunctious ceremony at the new Kodak Theatre by awarding a different
artist in all 13 categories.
India.Arie came back from her snubbing at the Grammys by winning Best Female
R&B Artist, though her omnipresent competitor, Alicia Keys, didn't leave
empty-handed she took home the Best New Artist title.
Outkast won Best Group for the second year in a row, beating out B2K, who later snagged the Viewer's Choice Award.
Ja Rule was named Best Male Hip-Hop Artist. Three other rappers won
awards also: Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy for Video of the Year for "Pass the
Courvoisier, Part II," and Will Smith for Best Actor.
Nearly every artist who appeared in front of a microphone throughout the
night made a call for unity, shouting "one love" or "black star power."
There was one moment, however, that threatened the spirit of the ceremony,
which aired live on the East Coast. When Suge Knight moved to an empty seat
near former Death Row Records artist Snoop Dogg during a commercial break,
the two shared what appeared to be threatening words. Co-host Steve Harvey
asked them to respect BET and Knight walked away before the cameras started
If there was a standout figure at Tuesday's event it was Muhammad Ali, who
received the Humanitarian Award from Smith (who won for portraying him in the film
"Ali") and was treated to a musical tribute from Keys, Angie Stone and Jill
Scott. His daughter, boxer Laila Ali, won Best Female Athlete.
Smith stood next to Ali during his acceptance speech and laughed when the boxer said Smith wasn't pretty enough to accurately portray him. "My wife thinks I am," Smith
Ja Rule may have actually edged out Ali in camera time, after performing
solo and with Ashanti and Mary J. Blige.
There were numerous performance highlights throughout the night, including
Ludacris' tree house set, B2K's dancing Michael Jackson tribute and Usher's
sexually-charged show, which began as he rose on an elevated bed.
Several acceptance speeches also managed to stand out, such as P. Diddy
thank yous from Busta (who was stuck on an airplane) via his 2way,
Outkast's Big Boi dedicating his award to Goodie Mob's Khujo, who was
injured in a car crash the night before (see "Goodie Mob's Khujo Badly Injured In Car Accident"), and Keys, who addressed the Suge/Snoop tension by noting, "We have lost too many people for no reason and we don't need to perpetuate that."
The ceremony also featured a medley performance from Earth, Wind & Fire, who
received a Lifetime Achievement Award; and the presentation of the
Chairman's Award to gospel singer Bobby Jones.
The late singer Aaliyah, who led the list of nominees, was not awarded in
any of her four categories.
The winners at the second annual BET Awards:
- Best Male Hip-Hop Artist - Ja Rule
- Best Female Hip-Hop Artist - Missy Elliott
- Best Group - Outkast
- Best Male R&B Artist - Usher
- Best Female R&B Artist - India.Arie
- Best New Artist - Alicia Keys
- Viewers' Choice: B2K
- Video of the Year - "Pass the Courvoisier, Part II," Busta Rhymes featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell
- Best Gospel Artist - Yolanda Adams
- Best Actor - Will Smith
- Best Actress - Halle Berry
- Best Male Athlete - Kobe Bryant
- Best Female Athlete - Laila Ali