The wealth was spread around at Tuesday’s BET Awards. Several performers won two prizes apiece, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z (she won Best Female R&B artist; he won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, and they shared Best Collaboration for ”Crazy in Love”), OutKast (Best Video, for ”Hey Ya!”, and Best Group), and Usher (Best Male R&B Artist, and Viewers Choice, for the ”Yeah” video). Other prizes went to Missy Elliott (Best Female Hip-Hop Artist), Kanye West (Best New Artist), Yolanda Adams (Best Gospel Artist), Denzel Washington (Best Actor), and Halle Berry (Best Actress).
The fourth annual gala, hosted by Mo’Nique at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre and broadcast live on BET, included a number of nostalgic reunions. Lifetime achievement winners the Isley Brothers performed their all-time party classic ”Shout,” with Rudolph Isley joining brothers Ernie and Ronald for the first time in 20 years. Rick James performed with protégée Teena Marie. And the program’s centerpiece was a 25th-anniversary-of-hip-hop showcase that featured such old-school rappers as The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Melle Mel, The Get Fresh Crew (Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh), and Public Enemy.
No doubt many viewers were watching for something that didn’t happen: a wardrobe malfunction from Janet Jackson, for whom the awards show represented her first truly live TV performance (without even a five-second tape delay) since her Super Bowl debacle. Jackson performed her new song ”All Nite (Don’t Stop)” without incident. In fact, the most risqué moment of the telecast may have come from James, who couldn’t leave the stage without uttering his new catchphrase, popularized via Dave Chappelle’s impersonation of him on ”Chappelle’s Show”: ”I’m Rick James, bitch!”