Forget about hedging his BETs, 50 Cent cashed in big time.
The hardcore rapper--whose debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin' has dominated the charts since its February release, selling more than 4 million copies--was a double winner at Tuesday's third annual Black Entertainment Television Awards, snagging trophies for Best New Artist and Best Male Hip-Hop Artist.
The kudofest, held at Hollywood's Kodak Theater and hosted by tube star Mo'Nique, paid tribute to African Americans for their contributions to film, music and sports. Winners are chosen by a committee of industry executives, journalists and fans.
There were a few repeat winners from last year, including India Arie, winner of Best Female R&B Artist; Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, who took home Best Female Hip-Hop Artist; and Yolanda Adams, named Best Gospel Artist.
For the second year running, R&B boy band B2K won the Viewers' Choice Award, selected via an online poll, to go along with a trophy for Best Group.
A kiddie-porn rap didn't stop R. Kelly from showing up to collect his Best Male R&B Artist Award, which he tied for with Jaheim.
Erykah Badu and Common nabbed Best Video for "Love of My Life." And Snoop Dogg picked up his first BET Award for Best Collaboration for his "Beautiful" duet with Pharrell. (Hours earlier, three members of Snoop's posse were busted as they arrived at the show--two for misdemeanor warrants and the other for a parole violation.)
The evening's most prestigious prize, however, went to the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.
All those years swiveling hips and making like a sex machine finally paid off for James Brown, who was honored with a standing ovation and presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Michael Jackson.
The Godfather of Soul performed two of his classics, "It's a Man's World" and "Sex Machine," and traded a few dance moves with the onetime King of Pop, who then praised the Brown for his lasting impact.
"Nobody has influenced me more than this man right here," Jackson said, after ceremoniously draping the 70-year-old soul legend with his signature cape.
On the film side, Queen Latifah scored Best Actress for the one-two punch of Chicago and Bringin' Down the House, while newcomer Derek Luke took Best Actor for his star turn in Antwone Fisher.
Tennis phenom Serena Williams beat out sister Venus for Best Female Athlete, while Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant won Best Male Athlete. Former Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson received the Humanitarian Award for his community work.
The night kicked off with a rap medley by 50 Cent (taking a break from the European leg of his Anger Management Tour with Eminem) and featured notable performances from the likes of Beyoncé Knowles (with a little help from Jay-Z), R. Kelly, Ashanti, Snoop and Lil' Kim, D.M.C., DJ Premiere, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Kid Capri teamed for a stirring tribute in memory of Run-D.M.C. deejay Jam Master Jay, who was gunned down last October.
Here's a complete recap of winners for the 2003 BET Awards: Lifetime Achievement: James Brown Best Group: B2K Male R&B artist: Jaheim, R. Kelly Female R&B Artist: India.Arie Male Hip-Hop Artist: 50 Cent Female Hip-Hop Artist: Missy Elliott New Artist: 50 Cent Gospel Artist: Yolanda Adams Video of the Year: Erykah Badu featuring Common ("Love of My Life") Actor in a Film: Derek Luke Actress in a Film: Queen Latifah Male Athlete of the Year: Kobe Bryant Female Athlete of the Year: Serena Williams Viewer's Choice: B2K