Lil' Kim and Sean "Diddy" Coombs perform at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Lil' Kim and Sean "Diddy" Coombs perform at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Faith Evans, left, and Sean "Diddy" Combs perform at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theatre on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Faith Evans, left, and Sean "Diddy" Combs perform at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theatre on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Sean "Diddy" Combs falls while he performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Sean "Diddy" Combs falls while he performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Sean "Diddy" Combs performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Sean "Diddy" Combs performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Kendrick Lamar performs. Picture: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Kendrick Lamar performs. Picture: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Kendrick Lamar performs at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Kendrick Lamar performs at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
The Weeknd performs 'Earned it' with Alicia Keys at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
The Weeknd performs 'Earned it' with Alicia Keys at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Chris Brown, left, and Tyga perform at the BET Awards at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Chris Brown, left, and Tyga perform at the BET Awards at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
K Michelle (C) performs "Hard to Do" at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
K Michelle (C) performs "Hard to Do" at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Ciara performs during a tribute to Janet Jackson at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Ciara performs during a tribute to Janet Jackson at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Janet Jackson accepts the Ultimate Icon Award at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Janet Jackson accepts the Ultimate Icon Award at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Patti LaBelle performs "If Only You Knew" with Tamar Braxton (L) and K. Michelle at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Patti LaBelle performs "If Only You Knew" with Tamar Braxton (L) and K. Michelle at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Pharrell Williams performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Pharrell Williams performs at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Laverne Cox, left, and Gabrielle Union present the award for best actor at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Laverne Cox, left, and Gabrielle Union present the award for best actor at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Singer Rihanna speaks on stage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Singer Rihanna speaks on stage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Jay Ellis, from left, Brittany Daniel, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Coby Bell, Lauren London, Barry Floyd, Hosea Chanchez, and Brandy Norwood present the award for best male hip hop artist at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Jay Ellis, from left, Brittany Daniel, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Coby Bell, Lauren London, Barry Floyd, Hosea Chanchez, and Brandy Norwood present the award for best male hip hop artist at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Singer Monica poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Singer Monica poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Actress Serayah poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Actress Serayah poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Singer Keyshia Cole poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Singer Keyshia Cole poses backstage at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson pose for a photo with singer Tori Kelly, centre, at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson pose for a photo with singer Tori Kelly, centre, at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Kelly Rowland arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Kelly Rowland arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Singer Tyrese Gibson and a guest arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Singer Tyrese Gibson and a guest arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Songwriter Elijah Blake and a guest arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Songwriter Elijah Blake and a guest arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
2 Chainz. Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
2 Chainz. Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Stylist Law Roach and singer Zendaya arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Stylist Law Roach and singer Zendaya arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Actress Christina Milian arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Actress Christina Milian arrives at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Omarion performs "Post to Be" at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Omarion performs "Post to Be" at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Rapper Flo Rida and Natalie LaRose arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten
Rapper Flo Rida and Natalie LaRose arrive at the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Though she was absent, Beyonce won three BET Awards, including video of the year for ‘7/11’, while Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj also won multiple awards at the all-star show Sunday night.

But the show was less about the awards — video of the year didn’t even make the live broadcast — as performances stole the night.

As Janet Jackson entered the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Brown screamed loudly, Minaj whipped out her phone to record the moment and Laverne Cox was teary-eyed. The pop star was honoured with the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award as she made one of her first public performances in sometime as she readies a new album and tour this fall.

“It’s been a very long moment to this journey … my heart is so full,” Jackson said to the audience, which included her mother and father. “To my beautiful mother, to my beautiful father, and to my entire family, your love is unbreakable.”

An impressive Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe paid tribute to the 49-year-old veteran by mimicking her signature dance moves.

“Twenty five years ago we created ‘Rhythm Nation,’ hoping the world would be a better place, but today there’s even more to be done,” Jackson said.

Jackson wasn’t the only show stopper Sunday: Diddy dropped it like it’s hot at the awards show — figuratively and literally.

The entertainer fell during an exciting performance that celebrated Bad Boy Records’ 20th year anniversary, one of the night’s highlights. Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, 112 and The Lox joined Diddy as they performed a medley of past hits. A video montage of rap king Notorious B.I.G. appeared in the background as his verse from “Mo Money Mo Problems” played.

Brown performed multiple times, and won best male R&B/pop artist and the fandemonium award.

“A lot has changed in my life, a lot of mistakes, a lot of lessons learned. The best thing I’m most thankful for is my daughter,” he said onstage. “I’m so thankful and happy to have the loyal fans … and everybody here that knows me, to know me is to love me.”

The show on Sunday brought a mix of funny and serious moments. Rapping on top of a police car with a large American flag waving behind him, hip-hop prince Kendrick Lamar kicked off the BET Awards with a dose of seriousness, but also brought a fiery energy thanks to his charisma and beat of his song, “Alright.”

He later won best male hip-hop artist.

“This is for Compton, this is for Watts,” the Los Angeles-born rapper said.

Janelle Monae and Jidenna also brought a serious vibe to the stage when they performed “Classic Man”: The singers and their background dancers wore large “I’m a Classic Man” signs around their necks, a reference to the historic “I Am a Man” civil rights era protest signs.

And as Anthony Hamilton and Gary Clark Jr. performed while photos of celebrities who died appeared on screen, a montage of the nine people who were gunned down at a church in Charleston earlier this month closed the performance.

“Black-ish” actors Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross won over the crowd with back-to-back jokes, including one about Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.

“Is white really the new black,” Anderson sang as two photos of Dolezal — one old, the other recent — appeared on screen.

Anderson also dressed as British singer Sam Smith, who won best new artist but didn’t attend the awards show.

“Sam Smith isn’t here tonight because he’s white and he didn’t think he would win at the BET Awards,” Anderson said as the audience burst into laughter.

“This award is going to stay with me for you not showing up to BET,” Anderson sang, referencing Smith’s ubiquitous hit, “Stay With Me.”

Rihanna, who debuted a 1-minute clip of her new music video for “B***h Better Have My Money,” was among the A-listers who sat in the audience, and she sang along during Omarion and Brown’s performance of the pop hit, “Post to Be.” Alicia Keys surprised the crowd when she joined The Weeknd to sing his hit, “Earned It.”

Smokey Robinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award, performed a medley of his hits and earned a standing ovation from the audience when he spoke about Hollywood and humility. Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke and rising singer Tori Kelly paid tribute to the icon.

And Patti LaBelle was a fan favourite too, hitting high notes alongside Tamar Braxton and K. Michelle.

Minaj, who won the fan-voted viewer’s choice award, brought her mom onstage when she collected her sixth consecutive best female hip-hop artist award.

“Momma, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done for me. I love you so much,” said Minaj, who performed with her rapper-boyfriend Meek Mill later in the show.

Beyonce’s wins included best female R&B/pop artist and video director of the year.

 

AP