Sam Smith best new artist at BET Awards as Nicki Minaj wins rap prize

Sam Smith

Sam Smith has won best new artist at this year's BET Awards in LA.

He wasn't at the Black Entertainment Television ceremony, so the prize was picked up for him by actor Anthony Anderson.

"Sam Smith isn't here tonight because he's white and he didn't think he would win at the BET Awards," he told the audience at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

"He didn't think he could win. But we showed him that we love him, too."

Anthony Anderson
Image caption Anthony Anderson stars in ABC's Black-ish and has also appeared in Transformers, The Departed and Scream 4

Nicki Minaj, who won her sixth best female hip-hop artist award in a row, brought her mum onstage.

She gave a shout out to fellow nominee and rising rapper Dej Loaf, as well as her rapper and boyfriend Meek Mill, who sat next to her at the show (and she later joined him onstage for his performance).

Nicki Minaj and her mother
Image caption Nicki Minaj thanked her mother onstage as she picked up her award

"Momma, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you've done for me. I love you so much," she said.

"Shout out to all the girls nominated... Def Loaf... you've been very, very interesting to me and super forward."

Nicki Minaj also picked up the viewers' choice award for her track Only featuring Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown.

Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill

Rapping on top of a police car with a large American flag waving behind him, hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar kicked off the BET Awards.

Members of the audience rapped along to Alright, while dancers walked down the aisles and a huge American flag was waved behind behind Lamar.

He later won best male hip-hop artist.

"This is for Compton, this is for Watts," the Los Angeles-born rapper said.

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar

Terrence Howard, star of the hit Fox series Empire, won the first award for best actor for his role as Lucious Lyon.

"To the Empire," he yelled three times. "I got to thank Taraji P Henson because she stood up for a brother."

Meanwhile, Taraji P Henson won the best actress award for her role as Cookie Lyon in Empire.

Terrence Howard
Bryshere Yazshawn "Yazz" Gray
Image caption Bryshere Yazshawn "Yazz" Gray plays Hakeem Lyon in Empire and rapped at the awards

P Diddy fell through a hole in the stage while performing to celebrate Bad Boy Records' 20th year anniversary, the label he founded in 1993.

Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, 112 and The Lox joined him as they performed a medley of their hits including Peaches And Cream and Bad Boy.

A video montage of Notorious BIG appeared in the background as his verse from Mo Money Mo Problems played.

This was P Diddy's first appearance in public since he was arrested last Monday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

He's accused of assaulting his son's football coach with a kettlebell on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.

P Diddy and Lil Kim
Image caption P Diddy and Lil Kim sing together on stage
P Diddy
Pharrell Williams and P Diddy
Image caption P Diddy was also joined by Pharrell Williams during his performance

Chris Brown performed on stage a number of times and won two honours: best male R&B/pop artist and the fandemonium award.

"A lot has changed in my life, a lot of mistakes, a lot of lessons learned. The best thing I'm most thankful for is my daughter," he said onstage.

"I'm so thankful and happy to have the loyal fans... and everybody here that knows me, to know me is to love me."

Image caption Stormzy, real name Michael Omari, was in Los Angeles to pick up his award

UK rap and grime artist Stormzy won in the best international act category to add to a growing list of successes this year. He sold out his debut UK tour, shared a stage with Kanye West at the Brits, and made the top three of the BBC's Sound Of 2015 list, which aims to showcase emerging artists for the coming 12 months.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown
Chris Brown and Omarion
Image caption One of Chris Brown's performances was with Omarion on his track Post to Be

Rihanna was among the A-listers sitting in the audience.

She sang along during Omarion and Chris Brown's performance of the pop hit, Post to Be and premiered a trailer for her new track.

She was filmed taping shut boxing star Floyd Mayweather's mouth with duct tape.

Alicia Keys surprised the audience when she joined The Weeknd to sing his hit, Earned It.

Alicia Keys and The Weeknd

Smokey Robinson received the lifetime achievement award, performed a medley of his hits and got a standing ovation from the audience when he spoke about Hollywood and humility.

Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke and rising singer Tori Kelly paid tribute to the icon.

Speaking backstage, he said: "For those who are pursuing showbusiness I can say to you, showbusiness is a world of accolades and pedestals and people giving you praise and stuff like that but I say to you, remember where you came from and no matter how high your head is in the clouds, you had better try and keep your feet on the ground.

"Know this is nothing unique to you, you didn't start it and you won't finish it."

Tori Kelly, Smokey Robinson and Robin Thicke
Image caption Tori Kelly and Robin Thicke performed with Smokey Robinson at the awards
Smokey Robinson and P Diddy
Image caption P Diddy handed Smokey Robinson his lifetime achievement award

Janelle Monae and Jidenna also brought a serious vibe to the stage when they performed Classic Man.

The singers and their background dancers wore large I'm a Classic Man signs around their necks, a reference to the historic I Am a Man civil rights era protest signs.

Janelle Monae and Jidenna

There was also a more serious moment when Anthony Hamilton and Gary Clark Jr performed while photos of celebrities who've died appeared on screen with a montage of the nine people who were killed at a church in Charleston earlier this month.

Anthony Hamilton and Gary Clark Jr
Image caption Anthony Hamilton and Gary Clark Jr paid tribute to BB King and other music stars who've died this year

Actors Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross followed Kendrick Lamar's performance with a song poking fun at pop culture, including Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines case, Pharrell's signature hat and Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.

"Is white really the new black?" Anderson sang as two photos of Dolezal - one old, the other recent - appeared on screen.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson was honoured with the ultimate icon award as she made a rare public appearance.

She's preparing to release a new album and go out on tour.

"It's been a very long moment to this journey... my heart is so full," Jackson said onstage, where her mother and father sat next to each another.

Janet Jackson

"To my beautiful mother, to my beautiful father, and to my entire family, your love is unbreakable."

Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe paid tribute to the 49-year-old by mimicking her signature dance moves at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

Image caption Ciara paid tribute to Janet Jackson at the event in LA

"Twenty five years ago we created Rhythm Nation, hoping the world would be a better place, but today there's even more to be done," said Jackson.

"And last but not least, my loving husband, and to all the fans. I've missed you so much and I love you so much."

Other winners included Beyonce (best female R&B/Pop artist, video of the year and video director of the year), Rae Sremmurd (best group), Common & John Legend (best collaboration) and Mo'Ne Davis (YoungStars award).

Tennis star Serena Williams and basketball player Stephen Curry won the sporting awards and Selma picked up best film.

The BET Awards 2015 air on Tuesday evening on the BET channel (Sky 187, Virgin 134, Freesat 140).

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