Stars with criminal pasts honored at BET Awards

Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:47am EDT
 
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B star Chris Brown, fully rehabilitated in the public eye after beating up ex-girlfriend Rihanna two years ago, led the list of winners with criminal pasts at the BET Awards on Sunday.

Brown took home four awards, including the viewers' choice prize, amid some confusion at the 11th annual celebration of black musicians, actors and sports people. He led the contenders with six nominations.

In an unfortunate turn, Brown's name was called as the winner of the viewers' choice award, and then Rihanna's. Canadian rapper Drake awkwardly appeared on stage at the Shrine Auditorium to accept on her behalf.

But at the end of the show, it was revealed that Brown was the actual winner and there had been a technical snafu. Alas, that was too late to save the lucky fan charged with announcing the winner from being savaged on Twitter.

Brown's music career stalled after he pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in February 2009, setting off a national debate on young, abusive relationships.

He publicly apologized, underwent court-ordered domestic violence counseling, and spent six months performing community service. Earlier this year he topped the U.S. pop album chart, a sign that his career was back on track.

"I know it's been a long road, so I just appreciate every blessing that's been in front of me," said Brown, dressed casually in white T-shirt, denim shorts and a silver kerchief.

He shared BET's best collaboration prize with Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne. The latter spent most of 2010 behind bars on a weapons charge. Brown's other awards included best male R&B artist and best video.   Continued...