- 1 Season
The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television cable network. What distinguishes this show from other awards shows is that it includes many entertainment and philanthropic categories that celebrate African American culture. Artists and other minorities in music, sports, acting and many other fields over the prior year are honored. The awards show is broadcast live on BET, with presenters such as actor, comedian and singer, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson. Prior show hosts have included: comedians and actors, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer; comedienne and actress, Mo'Nique; actors, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith; comedians and actors, Damon Wayans and DL Hughley; veteran rapper, writer, actress and producer, Queen Latifah; and actor and comedian, Kevin Hart. The award sculpture was designed by Carlos Mare Rodriguez, a Hip Hop culture icon. The inaugural ceremony was held in 2001 at Las Vegas' Paris resort. The Kodak Theater in Hollywood hosted the event from 2002 to 2005. Since then, the awards have been held at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. Next year, the BET Awards plans to relocate to the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. The main categories of the BET Awards include Best: Hip-Hop Artists, Gospel Artist, R and B Artists, Group, New Artist, Collaboration, Music Video, Video of the Year, Viewer's Choice, Centric Award, Actor and Actress, Movie and Athlete of the Year. One of the most important features of the show is The BET Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian Awards. Nominees are announced ahead of time in a special press conference. The awards ceremony features a short documentary that covers each honoree's life. Each award is given out separately. The BET Lifetime Achievement Award goes to a legendary artist or group who has made a very notable contribution to the entertainment industry. A tribute is paid by current singers, all of whom perform each honoree's most popular songs. The honoree also performs after the tribute has concluded. Recipients of this award have included: Whitney Houston, Earth Wind and Fire, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Al Green, The O'Jays, Prince, Patti Labelle and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. The BET Humanitarian Award category was created in 2002, which debuted at the second annual show. The Humanitarian Award goes to celebrity philanthropists who donate their resources to charitable causes. Recipients have included: Muhammad Ali, Earvin Magic Johnson, Danny Glover, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Harry Belafonte, Don Cheadle, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton.