Brown, Beyonce win top BET Awards, Houston in spotlight

Mon Jul 2, 2012 1:12am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The BET Awards on Sunday split top honors among several artists, including Beyonce and Chris Brown, in a telecast filled with lively performances and an emotional tribute to late singer Whitney Houston.

Beyonce was named best female R&B artist, while Brown, who performed his hit single "Turn Up the Music" from his new album "Fortune," earned the title best male artist. Rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West won best group with their smash hit album "Watch the Throne."

But the brightest spotlight shined on late singer Whitney Houston, who was found dead in a bathtub at a Beverly Hills hotel in February. Authorities have said the pop star died of an accidental drowning brought on by cocaine use and heart disease.

Mariah Carey, in a glittering gold dress onstage, shared humorous anecdotes of her encounters with Houston, whose hits from the 1980s and '90s included "I Will Always Love You."

"I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter, but we'll always have the music. We'll always have that voice we fell in love with, she inspired us all, we'll always have my friend Whitney Houston," Carey said.

Singer Monica performed Houston's "I Love The Lord," and was followed by Brandy in a medley of "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." The tribute became a family affair as Houston's brother Gary sang "Where You Are," followed by her mother Cissy, who gave a heartfelt rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," earning a standing ovation.

Houston's co-stars from her 1995 film "Waiting To Exhale" also remembered the late star, before Chaka Khan rounded out the tribute with the late singer's classic hit, "I'm Every Woman."

The show also paid homage to the late Donna Summer, Dick Clark and Don Cornelius.   Continued...

Chris Brown performs at the 2012 BET Awards in Los Angeles on July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten