Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown and “Gold Digger” duo Kanye West and Jamie Foxx shared double wins at the 2006 BET Awards last night (June 27). Picking up respective statuettes as best female R&B artist and best duet/collaboration, Blige and West with Foxx also tied for video of the year honors.
R&B newcomer Brown walked away with a best new artist trophy as well as the viewers’ choice award.
Airing live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the sixth annual ceremony saluted several first-time winners. Prince was named best male R&B artist, rapper T.I. claimed best male hip-hop artist and Kirk Franklin was christened best gospel artist. Anthony Hamilton was the inaugural winner of the first BET J Cool Like That Award, which commemorates this year’s re-launching of the former BET Jazz channel. Rounding out the list of music-category winners was best group honoree the Black Eyed Peas.
Receiving special tributes were actor/activist Harry Belafonte (the BET Humanitarian Award) and R&B pioneer Chaka Khan (BET Lifetime Achievement Award). Khan’s segment provided one of the evening’s most compelling moments as Prince, Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams and India.Arie performed songs from the singer’s illustrious career.
Bookending the ceremony were Beyonce’s performance of her new single “Deja Vu” with Jay-Z and Prince closing the proceedings with the title track from his current album, “3121.”
Also turning in memorable performances: Busta Rhymes (featuring surprise appearances by Eminem and Missy Elliott) and Foxx, who engaged in a passionate kiss with Fantasia during their performance of Foxx’s “DJ Play a Love Song.”
Actor/comedian Damon Wayans hosted the 2006 BET Awards, which also recognizes achievements in acting and sports. An encore telecast will air Friday.
Here are the 2006 BET Awards winners:
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist: T.I.
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist: Missy Elliott
Best Male R&B Artist: Prince
Best Female R&B Artist: Mary J. Blige
Best Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin
Best New Artist: Chris Brown
Best Duet/Collaboration: Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (“Gold Digger”)
Best Group: Black Eyed Peas
Best Actor: Terrence Howard
Best Actress: Taraji P. Henson
Male Athlete of the Year: LeBron James (basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year: Venus Williams (tennis)
BET J Cool Like That: Anthony Hamilton
Video of the Year (tie): Mary J. Blige (“Be Without You”), Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (“Gold Digger”)
Viewers’ Choice: Chris Brown