Pharrell, Minaj lead BET award winners, Richie honored

Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:47am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B star Pharrell, rapper Nicki Minaj and newcomer August Alsina led the winners at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards on Sunday, which also honored veteran soul singer Lionel Richie.

Pharrell kicked off the show with "Come Get It Bae" and won two awards, including best male R&B/pop artist. Beyonce was named best female R&B/pop singer, and closed the show with a sultry performance of "Partition" with husband Jay Z. The couple also won best collaboration for "Drunk In Love."

Richie, 65, received the lifetime achievement award for his prolific career as part of Motown group The Commodores and as a solo artist.

"Soul is a feeling, not a color. Talent is a god given gift and not a category, and out of the box is the magical place where true talent goes to thrive and breathe," Richie said as he accepted the award.

John Legend, Ledisi and Yolanda performed Richie's classic love songs "Hello", "Still" and The Commodores' "Brick House" and "Jesus is Love". Richie sang "Easy" and "All Night Long".

The BET awards, held in Los Angeles, celebrates black musicians, actors and athletes. It is hosted by cable TV network Black Entertainment Television, part of Viacom Inc., and the show was preceded by violence at unofficial parties ahead of the show in which one person was killed.

New Orleans singer Alsina was named best new artist and Lil Wayne's rap collective Young Money scored best group.

Drake won best male hip hop artist, but was not available to collect his award. Minaj was named best female hip hop artist and threw a little dig at other rappers by saying: "When you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it."   Continued...

Pharrell Williams accepts the award for best male R&B/pop artist during the 2014 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California June 29, 2014.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni