50 Cent and B2K cashed in as the big winners last night (June 24) at the third annual BET Awards. Each took two honors home from the three-hour event, hosted by actress/comedian Monique at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles and broadcast live on BET.
50 Cent won the best male hip-hop artist and best new artist awards. Along with the best group honor, B2K won the Viewer’s Choice award for “Bump Bump Bump” featuring P. Diddy. Voting for the latter award was open on the BET Web site until minutes before the award’s announcement.
50 Cent, B2K and Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott led the list of nominees with two each. Elliott won one award for best female hip-hop artist award, which she dedicated to late R&B star Aaliyah.
The result of the best male R&B artist category was a tie between R. Kelly and Jaheim, and the best female R&B artist trophy went to India.Arie.
While the best collaboration award went to “Beautiful” by Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell (who performed the song during the show), the video of the year honor was also a collaboration: Erykah Badu featuring Common in the clip for their single “Love of My Life.”
While the BET Awards are made up mostly of music categories, the ceremony also recognizes athletes and actors. Notably, rapper-turned-actor Queen Latifah won the best actress award. In the past year she has co-starred in the box office hits “Chicago” and “Bringin’ Down the House.”
“The Godfather Of Soul” James Brown was on hand to accept BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award. After a video presentation, he performed “It’s a Man’s World” and “Sex Machine,” at the end of which Michael Jackson made a surprise appearance to present the award. After dancing a bit with Brown, a visibly moved Jackson called him a “genius” and an “inspiration” to him since he was a young child. For his acceptance, Brown shouted “Heh!” as a cue to his band to kick into a refrain of “Sex Machine.”
Also honored with a special presentation was professional basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who was given the Humanitarian Award.
Other performers were included Beyonce Knowles, Lil’ Kim, Arie, 50 Cent with Nate Dogg, Kelly and best gospel artist winner Yolanda Adams, as well as Grandmaster Flash leading a DJ tribute to late Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kid Capri, and DJ Premier.
For a complete list of 2003 BET Awards winners, which are chosen by a panel of entertainment and media executives, click here.