Cardi B topped the winners at this year’s BET awards, receiving two awards: best female hip-hop artist, and album of the year for Invasion of Privacy.
The awards, which celebrate the best in black American entertainment, paid tribute to the rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in Los Angeles in March. He was named best male hip-hop artist, and also given a special humanitarian award, to acknowledge the work he had done on social mobility in the city.
John Legend and DJ Khaled performed a musical tribute to Hussle, and the red carpet at the Microsoft theatre in Los Angeles was turned blue, to acknowledge the gang colours of the Crip gang he grew up with.
Other winners included Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, who won the pop/R&B categories, while the rap trio Migos won best group. Their fellow Atlanta rapper Lil Baby won best new artist. Michael B Jordan and Regina Kelly won the acting categories, while Serena Williams and Stephen Curry won the sports awards. Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman was named best movie.
British artists missed out in the two international categories, which were won by the Nigerian pop star Burna Boy and rising South African dance artist Sho Madjozi – they beat the UK rappers Dave, Giggs, Headie One and Octavian. But Ella Mai, the British R&B singer who achieved major US success in 2018, won the public-voted Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice award for her song Trip.
Childish Gambino’s much-discussed This Is America won the best video category, while Karena Evans won video director of the year, after she broke through with four videos for Drake’s chart-topping album Scorpion. Drake and Travis Scott were awarded best collaboration for Scott’s track Sicko Mode.
Appearing alongside live performances by Lil Nas X, Cardi B and more were the five men exonerated in the 1989 Central Park Five rape case, recently adapted for Netflix by Ava DuVernay. They received a standing ovation as they introduced R&B singer HER.