Accepting the award from Jamie Foxx, Mars noted, "The first award I ever won was a Soul Train award right here on this network … BET has shown me nothing but love and support of my career throughout the years."
He went on to thank BET Networks chairman/CEO Debra Lee and producer Jesse Collins before mentioning Hill, who shocked the industry with his resignation in March after 18 years with the company.
"A special shout-out to my friend Mr. Stephen Hill, who personally flew out to tell me, 'Bruno, I need you at the BET Awards this year.' He came to my concert," Mars shared. "Steve, no matter where you go in life, I know you're gonna find success because you've got too much soul and too much passion."
Watch Bruno Mars' full acceptance speech for Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: