The 2019 BET Awards featured a number of contemporary pop and rap stars who are dominating the charts, from Cardi B to Lil Nas X. But the show belonged to artists viewed as icons in the black community, including singer Mary J. Blige, filmmaker Tyler Perry, and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. Hussle, a respected and beloved community activist in South Los Angeles who was shot to death on March 31, posthumously earned the Humanitarian Award on Sunday night. His family, including his mother, father, grandmother, children, and fiancée, actress Lauren London, accepted the honor on his behalf. "I just want to thank you guys for all the love and support, and the marathon continues again," London said onstage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Hussle also won best male hip-hop artist, besting Drake, J. Cole, Travis Scott, Meek Mill, and 21 Savage, the AP reports. Blige, who earned the Lifetime Achievement Award, ran through her hits during a lengthy performance, which featured Lil Kim and Method Man. Rihanna presented the award to Blige, who earned a standing ovation as she walked to the stage. The audience also erupted in cheers for media mogul Tyler Perry, who earned the Ultimate Icon Award, presented to him by Taraji P. Henson. Childish Gambino, who didn't attend the show, won the top prize—video of the year—for "This Is America." Beyoncé was named best female R&B/pop artist, and Bruno Mars won best male R&B/pop artist. (Click for a full list of winners.)