The BET Awards were as star-studded as expected, with Nicki Minaj, D'Angelo, Rick Ross, Soulja Boy and a stirring tribute to Whitney Houston among the night's highlights. Host Samuel L. Jackson served as the perfect Master of Ceremonies for a night that saw the legendary actor and renowned movie director Spike Lee performing a raggedy version of Jay-Z and Kanye West's hit single "N***as In Paris" to kick off the festivities.
Famed soul singer/songwriter D'Angelo made a triumphant return to television, with Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Usher and Chris Brown both took the stage for high-energy performances; and Monica, Brandy, Chaka Khan and Cissy Houston all paid tribute to the late pop superstar Whitney Houston. Rapper Soulja Boy was moved to tears during Cissy's heartfelt rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in tribute to her late daughter. Legendary soul band Maze featuring Frankly Beverly were honored for a lifetime's body of work.