Everybody was a favorite Tuesday night at the Shrine Auditorium.
Honors were distributed pretty evenly at the 2006 BET Awards as a number of the heaviest hitters in R&B and hip-hop went home with either one award or, at the most, two.
Seventeen-year-old "Run It" rapper Chris Brown snagged one of those rare encores, walking off with the award for Best New Artist as well as the Viewer's Choice Award for his song "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)."
Jamie Foxx, the evening's most-nominated artist with five mentions, shared awards for Best Collaboration and Video of the Year with Kanye West for their hit "Gold Digger."
"Love to all black people," Foxx told the 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."
Actually, the Grammy-winning duo also shared the spotlight with Mary J. Blige, whose soulful video for "Be Without You" won her a tie for Video of the Year.
Blige, clad in giant sunglasses and super-high boots, also took the stage to perform the song before collecting the Best Female R&B Artist Award.
Atlanta rapper T.I.'s win for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist prompted the heartfelt response that "the BET Awards ain't so bad after all."
"This is for everybody who had ever been hated on, who ever had somebody tell them they can?t do it," he said.
Proving that she's still doing it, Missy Elliott, who was nominated in four categories, won for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.
Prince surprised himself--if not anybody else--with his win for Best Male R&B Artist.
"This was unexpected, but I appreciate it nonetheless," he said.
Dapper as always in sharply pressed pinstripes, Prince thanked Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams, India.Arie and the evening's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Chaka Khan, for their inspiration. The five of them later took the stage together for a five-song medley?including the energetic "Tell Me Something Good"--in honor of the 53-year-old "I?m Every Woman" singer.
"I am so honored to be honored by my people," Khan told the crowd. "This means everything to me."
"Day-O" crooner Harry Belafonte was on hand to accept the BET Humanitarian Award. The 79-year-old Calypso icon was a major player in the Civil Rights Movement, putting up money to bail Martin Luther King Jr. out of a Birmingham, Alabama, jail in 1963. He helped organize the "We Are the World" collaboration in 1985 and went on to become a UNICEF goodwill ambassador (before Angelina made it cool).
"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."
Host Damon Wayans may have said on The Tonight Show Monday that black people don't cry at the BET Awards "because it ain't cool," but?
He'd be right. A party atmosphere prevailed throughout the evening, from Beyoncé's show-stopping opener to Prince's get-up-and-dance finale. Miss Knowles performed the new tune "Déjà Vu" off her upcoming B'Day album, while Prince sent everyone home feeling that much more funky after singing the title song from his latest effort, 3121.
Here's a complete list of the night?s winners:Male Hip-Hop Artist: T.I. Female Hip-Hop Artist: Missy Elliott Male R&B Artist: Prince Female R&B Artist: Mary J. Blige Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin New Artist: Chris Brown Duet/Collaboration: Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger" Best Group: Black Eyed Peas Best Actor: Terrence Howard Best Actress: Taraji P. Henson Male Athlete: LeBron James Female Athlete: Venus Williams Video of the Year: (tie) Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You" and Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger" Viewers' Choice: Chris Brown, "Yo, Excuse Me Miss" Bet J Cool Like That: Anthony Hamilton Humanitarian Award: Harry Belafonte Lifetime Achievement Award: Chaka Khan