Kanye West came back. Chris Brown cried. And with those two instantly debatable moments, viewers were treated to the most memorable BET Awards in the show’s 10-year history. The ceremony, broadcast live on June 27 from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, had no shortage of highlights: The great Patti LaBelle paid tribute to Prince, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Eminem, Drake, Kanye, and Alicia Keys all gave strong performances; and host Queen Latifah brought the jokes, in between her countless costume changes.
Of course, there were a few trophies given out, too (Keys won the Best Female R&B Artist prize, and Drake earned a star-shaped statue for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist). But this show was all about hip-hop and R&B’s biggest stars shining their brightest on stage. ”The BET Awards are like a high school reunion,” OutKast’s Big Boi told EW outside on the sweltering red carpet. ”You get to see all your friends and the folks you make music with out here. Some people even see a few enemies.” (Additional reporting by Carrie Bell)