Blige, Brown, Foxx, West Win Double BET Awards

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LOS ANGELES (June 28, 2006) — Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown were all double winners at Tuesday’s BET Awards.

Blige won female R&B artist. And in a tie, she, West and Foxx shared the prize for video of the year. Blige won for “Be Without You,” which features Terrence Howard, who was named best actor.

West and Foxx won the video honor for “Gold Digger,” which was also chosen as best collaboration. The megahit also won a Grammy this year.

“Love to all black people,” a jubilant Foxx told the Shrine Auditorium crowd.

“Y’all are stepping up black music,” West said. “This is the best music right here, and we’ve got to keep on giving it to them like that.”

Brown took home viewer’s choice, for his “Excuse Me Miss,” and best new artist.

Chaka Khan, who was recognized for lifetime achievement, accepted the honor in star-studded style.

“I am so honored to be honored by my people. This means everything to me,” she said as Stevie Wonder, Prince, India.Arie and Yolanda Adams joined her on stage for a five-song celebration.

The 53-year-old singer was among a dozen performers, including Blige, Foxx, Brown, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes, gospel duo Mary Mary and rapper T.I.

T.I. won the male hip-hop artist trophy and dedicated it to everyone “who been told they can’t do it.”

Prince, who closed the show with his song “3121,” won for male R&B artist.

“This was unexpected; I appreciate it nonetheless,” he said.

The night’s most touching moments came when Mary Mary dedicated the song “Yesterday” to survivors of Hurricane Katrina and when Harry Belafonte, 79, accepted a humanitarian award.

“This award doesn’t just touch vanity,” Belafonte said. “It is a validation of what I stand for, what Paul Robeson stood for.

It’s a validation of what W.E.B. Dubois stood for, what Malcolm X and Dr. King stood for.”

Damon Wayans hosted Black Entertainment Television’s performance-packed awards program, which recognizes the best in hip-hop, R&B, gospel and music videos, as well as athletes and actors.

NBA star LeBron James and tennis star Venus Williams were named best athletes. “Hustle & Flow” star Taraji P. Henson won best actress, and the best group was Black Eyed Peas.

Missy Elliott, who recently signed on to star in the big-screen version of her life story, won for female hip-hop artist, and Kirk Franklin for gospel artist.

“So many people owe BET a lot,” Franklin said before the show.

“Every African-American who’s in music, television or film, BET has got us into this. And there’s a lot of us.”

BET Award winners were decided by a panel of executives from entertainment companies, record labels and the media, except the Viewers’ Choice award, which fans voted for online. Not all award presentations were shown during the telecast.

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