|Current: BET Awards 2021|
|Awarded for||Outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry|
|First awarded||June 19, 2001|
The BET Awards is an American award show that was established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans in music, acting, sports and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards, which are presented annually, are broadcast live on BET. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by artists; some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.
The Award Trophy, inspired by three words - aspire, ascend, achieve, was designed by artist/sculptor Carlos "Mare139" Rodriguez. Outkast won the first award trophy during the first ceremony in 2001. In 2007, Society Awards, the New York firm who manufactures the award, enhanced the quality of the trophy design using plated steel and black crystal.
List of ceremonies
The inaugural ceremony in 2001 was held at the Paris Las Vegas resort on the Las Vegas Strip. From 2002 to 2005, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood hosted the awards. From 2006 to 2012, the ceremonies were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The ceremony was moved to the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in 2013.
|1st||June 19, 2001||Paris Las Vegas||Las Vegas||Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer|
|2nd||June 29, 2002||Kodak Theatre||Los Angeles|
|3rd||June 24, 2003||Mo'Nique|
|4th||June 29, 2004|
|5th||June 28, 2005||Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith|
|6th||June 27, 2006||Shrine Auditorium||Damon Wayans|
|7th||June 26, 2007||Mo'Nique|
|8th||June 24, 2008||D. L. Hughley|
|9th||June 28, 2009||Jamie Foxx|
|10th||June 27, 2010||Queen Latifah|
|11th||June 26, 2011||Kevin Hart|
|12th||July 1, 2012||Samuel L. Jackson|
|13th||June 30, 2013||Microsoft Theater||Chris Tucker|
|14th||June 29, 2014||Chris Rock|
|15th||June 28, 2015||Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross|
|16th||June 26, 2016|
|17th||June 25, 2017||Leslie Jones|
|18th||June 24, 2018||Jamie Foxx|
|19th||June 23, 2019||Regina Hall|
|20th||June 28, 2020||Virtual show||Amanda Seales|
|21st||June 27, 2021||Microsoft Theater||Los Angeles||Taraji P. Henson|
|Household rating||18–49 rating||Viewers
|2001||Tuesday||June 19||4.3||Unknown||5.20||No simulcast|||
The nomination process is handled by a voting academy made up of about 500 people from the music industry, media, and bloggers. BET sends out ballots electronically and voters nominate deserving works and artists in all categories who they think should be nominated. Nominations and voting ballots are collated by Yangaroo, Inc., a leading digital distribution firm that works on many other televised award ceremonies, including those of BET sister networks under parent company ViacomCBS. The top nominees are determined in each category, and the winners are selected via the academy members' voting process.
- Best Actor & Actress of the Year
- Best Gospel Artist (2001–16)
- J Cool Like That Award (2006–07)
- J Award (2008–09)
- Centric Award (2010–17)
- Best International Act: Africa (2011–17)
- Best International Act: UK (2011–16)
- FANdemonium Award (2010–16)
- International Viewers' Choice Award (2015–17)
- Best International Act: Europe (2017)
The BET Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian and Ultimate Icon Award recipients, along with the nominees for other categories are announced in a press conference. At the awards ceremony a mini-documentary is shown covering the honorees' life. The awards are given out separately. The Ultimate Icon Award was created in 2015 and presented in the ceremony.
- Lifetime Achievement
The BET Lifetime Achievement Award is given a veteran artist or group who has made notable contributions to the music industry. The honoree is paid tribute to by current popular singers who perform the honoree's most recognized songs. The honoree will usually perform themselves after being paid tribute.
- 2001: Whitney Houston
- 2002: Earth Wind & Fire
- 2003: James Brown
- 2004: The Isley Brothers
- 2005: Gladys Knight
- 2006: Chaka Khan
- 2007: Diana Ross
- 2008: Al Green
- 2009: The O'Jays
- 2010: Prince
- 2011: Patti LaBelle
- 2012: Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly
- 2013: Charlie Wilson
- 2014: Lionel Richie
- 2015: Smokey Robinson
- 2016: Samuel L. Jackson
- 2017: New Edition
- 2018: Anita Baker
- 2019: Mary J. Blige
- 2021: Queen Latifah
In 2002, at the second annual BET Awards, the category for the BET Award Humanitarian Award was created. The Humanitarian Award is given to a celebrity philanthropist who donates their time and money to a charitable cause.
- 2002: Muhammad Ali
- 2003: Earvin "Magic" Johnson
- 2004: Danny Glover
- 2005: Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington
- 2006: Harry Belafonte
- 2007: Don Cheadle
- 2008: Quincy Jones
- 2009: Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean
- 2010: John Legend
- 2011: Steve Harvey
- 2012: Rev. Al Sharpton
- 2013: Dwyane Wade
- 2014: Myrlie Evers-Williams
- 2015: Tom Joyner
- 2016: Jesse Williams
- 2017: Chance the Rapper
- 2018: Naomi Wadler, Mamoudou Gassama, Justin Blackman, Shaun King, Anthony Borges and James Shaw Jr.
- 2019: Nipsey Hussle
- 2020: Beyoncé
- Ultimate Icon
In 2015 and 2018, at the fifteenth and eighteenth annual BET Awards, the category of the Ultimate Icon Award was created. It is given to a veteran artist whose career is deemed iconic by fans and critics alike for their notable contributions in the music, dance and music video fields.
Most nominated and winning artists
Below are the current rankings for the most wins and most nominated artist (male & female):
Most wins (as of 2021)
|Artist||Beyoncé||Chris Brown||Drake||Nicki Minaj & Serena Williams||Lil Wayne|
|Total wins||33 (with Destiny's Child and The Carters)||18||15||12||11|
Most nominations (as of 2017) This is a list of multiple nominated performers, athletes & actors with 5 or more career nominations. Beyoncé is currently the most nominated performer with 75 nominations, solo and with Destiny's Child.
- Drake 46 solo; 5 w/ Young Money
- Jay Z 30 solo; 5 w/ Watch The Throne
- Kanye West 26 solo; 5 w/ Watch The Throne
- Erica Campbell 2 solo; 11 w/ Mary Mary
- Denzel Washington
- Kelly Rowland 1 solo; 8 w/ Destiny's Child
- Michelle Williams 1 solo; 8 w/ Destiny's Child
- Taraji P. Henson
- 2 Chainz
- 50 Cent
- Angela Bassett
- ASAP Rocky 6 solo; 2 w/ ASAP Mob
- Benny Boom
- Big Sean
- Busta Rhymes
- Chloe x Halle
- Destiny's Child
- Diddy 5 solo; 3 w/ Diddy-Dirty Money
- Hype Williams
- Idris Elba
- John Legend
- Marsha Ambrosius 4 solo; 4 w/ Floetry
- Omarion 2 solo; 6 w/ B2K
- Justin Timberlake
- Rick Ross
- Don Cheadle
- Erykah Badu
- Halle Berry
- Jennifer Hudson>
- Keyshia Cole
- Kirk Franklin
- Mariah Carey
- R. Kelly
- Anthony Hamilton
- August Alsina
- Benny Boom
- CeeLo Green 2 solo; 4 w/ Gnarls Barkley
- Keri Hilson
- Lil Jon 3 solo; 3 w/ Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz
- Lil' Kim
- Musiq Soulchild
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Yolanda Adams
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