Nicki Minaj crawled on the floor a bit during her performance of two songs, and she later joined YG, 2 Chainz and Big Sean for “Big Bank.” Janelle Monae went from rapping to singing for top-notch performances of “Django Jane” and “I Like That,” and Miguel, in a white suit, was smooth as he sang the songs “Come Through and Chill” and “Sky Walker.”

The BET Awards normally hands its Humanitarian Award to one person, but six individuals received the honor Sunday. Dubbed “Humanitarian Heroes,” the network gave awards to James Shaw Jr., who wrestled an assault-style rifle away from a gunman in a Tennessee Waffle House in April; Anthony Borges, the 15-year-old student who was shot five times and is credited with saving the lives of at least 20 other students during February massacre in Florida; Mamoudou Gassama, who scaled an apartment building to save a child dangling from a balcony last month in Paris; Naomi Wadler, the 11-year-old who gave a memorable and influential speech at March for Our Lives; Justin Blackman, the only student to walk out of his high school in North Carolina during the nationwide student walkout to protest gun violence in March; and journalist and activist Shaun King.

 

Debra Lee, who stepped down as chairman and CEO of BET last month after 32 years at the network, earned the Ultimate Icon Award.

“The power of black culture is unmatched. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s everything. It’s us,” she said.

She ended her speech quoting former U.S. President Barack Obama, calling him “our commander in chief,” which drew loud applause from the crowd.

“And, it’s Debra Lee, out,” she said as she dropped her imaginary microphone.

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