BET Awards

Last updated
BET Awards
Ambox current red.svg BET Awards 2019
BET Awards 2018 Trophy
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in the entertainment industry
CountryUnited States
Presented by BET
First awardedJune 19, 2001;18 years ago (2001-06-19)
Website   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other American minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by artists, and some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.

Black Entertainment Television (BET) is an American pay television channel that is owned by the BET Networks division of Viacom Media Networks, which ultimately owned by Viacom. It is the most prominent television network targeting African American audiences, with approximately 88,255,000 American households receiving the channel. The channel has offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.



The BET Award Trophy, inspired by three words - aspire, ascend, achieve, was designed by artist/sculptor Carlos "Mare139" Rodriguez. [1] OutKast won the first award trophy during the first ceremony in 2001. In 2007, Society Awards, the New York firm who manufactures the award, enhanced the quality of the trophy design using plated steel and black crystal.

Carlos Rodriguez is a New York-based artist born in 1965 in Spanish Harlem, New York City. He was best known as the subway graffiti writer Mare 139, and has since adapted the graffiti lettering styles to metal sculpture in the fine art context, and is recognized as a media artist for his creation of graffiti-art-related websites.

Society Awards is an American company best known for its custom design and manufacturing of high-profile entertainment industry awards, including the Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, and GLAAD Media Award, among others.


YearDayDate BET Cumulative Ref.
Household rating 18–49 rating Viewers
(in millions)
18–49 rating Viewers
(in millions)
2001 TuesdayJune 194.3Unknown5.20No simulcast [2]
2002 June 254.0Unknown4.40 [2]
2003 June 244.3Unknown5.50 [2]
2004 June 293.4Unknown5.60 [3] [4]
2005 June 283.7Unknown6.58 [5]
2006 June 284.9Unknown6.60 [6]
2007 June 263.4Unknown6.39 [7]
2008 June 243.2Unknown5.85 [8]
2009 SundayJune 28UnknownUnknown10.65 [9]
2010 June 27UnknownUnknown7.40 [10]
2011 June 26Unknown3.37.71 [11]
2012 July 1Unknown3.27.42 [12]
2013 June 30Unknown3.47.77 [13]
2014 June 29Unknown3.17.50Unknown7.90 [14] [15]
2015 June 28Unknown2.66.27Unknown6.50 [16] [15]
2016 June 26Unknown1.94.504.37.20 [17] [18]
2017 June 25Unknown1.53.833.55.80 [19] [20]
2018 June 24Unknown1.22.871.84.30 [4] [21]
2019 June 231.414.62.431.5986.7 [22] [23]

List of ceremonies

The inaugural ceremony in 2001 was held at the Paris Las Vegas resort on the Las Vegas Strip. From 2002 to 2005, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood hosted the awards. From 2006 to 2012, the ceremonies were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The ceremony was moved to the Microsoft Theater (formerly Nokia Theatre) at L.A. Live in 2013.

Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip

Paris Las Vegas is a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

Las Vegas Strip 4 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard with many resorts, shows, and casinos

The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada that is known for its concentration of resort hotels and casinos. The Strip is approximately 4.2 miles (6.8 km) in length, located immediately south of the Las Vegas city limits in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. However, the Strip is often referred to as being in Las Vegas.

Dolby Theatre live entertainment theatre in Los Angeles in the United States

The Dolby Theatre is a live-performance auditorium in the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping mall and entertainment complex, on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. Since its opening on November 9, 2001, the theater has been the venue of the annual Academy Awards ceremony. It is adjacent to the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the El Capitan Theatre nearby on Hollywood Boulevard.

Most recent BET Awards winners
  2018 23 June 2019 2020  
  Cardi B 2016.jpg Donald Glover TIFF 2015.jpg
Award Album of the Year Video of the Year
Winner Cardi B
Invasion of Privacy
Childish Gambino
"This Is America"
  Ella Mai 2019 by Glenn Francis.jpg Travis Scott April 2017.jpg
Award Coca-Cola Viewer's Choice Award Best Collaboration
Winner Ella Mai
Travis Scott
(ft. Drake)
"Sicko Mode"
#DateVenueHost cityHost
1st June 19, 2001 Paris Las Vegas Las Vegas Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer
2nd June 29, 2002 Kodak Theatre Los Angeles
3rd June 24, 2003 Mo'Nique
4th June 29, 2004
5th June 28, 2005 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
6th June 27, 2006 Shrine Auditorium Damon Wayans
7th June 26, 2007 Mo'Nique
8th June 24, 2008 D. L. Hughley
9th June 28, 2009 Jamie Foxx
10th June 27, 2010 Queen Latifah
11th June 26, 2011 Kevin Hart
12th July 1, 2012 Samuel L. Jackson
13th June 30, 2013 Microsoft Theater Chris Tucker
14th June 29, 2014 Chris Rock
15th June 28, 2015 Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross
16th June 26, 2016 Snoop Dogg
17th June 25, 2017 Leslie Jones
18th June 24, 2018 Jamie Foxx
19th June 23, 2019 Regina Hall

Nomination process

The nomination process is handled by a voting academy made up of about 500 people from the music industry, media, and bloggers. BET sends out ballots electronically and voters nominate deserving works and artists in all categories who they think should be nominated. Nominations and voting ballots are collated by Yangaroo, Inc., a leading digital distribution firm that works on many other awards shows, including those of BET sister networks under parent company Viacom, Inc., as well. The top nominees are determined in each category, and the winners are selected via the academy members' voting process. [24] [25] [26]

YANGAROO is a Canadian company specializing in providing technology solutions for the music, advertising, and awards industries. It was founded in 1999 by Cliff Hunt and David Staples.

Viacom American global mass media company founded in 2006

Viacom Inc. is an American multinational mass media conglomerate company with interests primarily in film and television. It is currently the world's ninth largest media company in terms of revenue, and has headquarters in New York City. Voting control of Viacom is held by National Amusements, Inc., a privately owned theater company controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone, who also holds a controlling stake in CBS Corporation.


Award categories

Current awards

Defunct awards

Special awards

The BET Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian and Ultimate Icon Award recipients, along with the nominees for other categories are announced in a press conference. At the awards ceremony a mini-documentary is shown covering the honorees' life. The awards are given out separately. The Ultimate Icon Award was created in 2015 and presented in the ceremony.

Lifetime Achievement

The BET Lifetime Achievement Award is given a veteran artist or group who has made notable contributions to the music industry. The honoree is paid tribute to by current popular singers who perform the honoree's most recognized songs. The honoree will usually perform themselves after being paid tribute.


In 2002, at the second annual BET Awards, the category for the BET Award Humanitarian Award was created. The Humanitarian Award is given to a celebrity philanthropist who donates their time and money to a charitable cause.

Ultimate Icon

In 2015 and 2018, at the fifteenth and eighteenth annual BET Awards, the category of the Ultimate Icon Award was created. It is given to a veteran artist whose career is deemed iconic by fans and critics alike for their notable contributions in the music, dance and music video fields.

Most nominated and winning artists

Below are the current rankings for the most wins and most nominated artist (male & female):

Most wins (as of 2019)[ citation needed ]

Artist Beyoncé Chris Brown Drake (musician) Serena Williams Nicki Minaj
Total wins2715131311

Most nominations (as of 2017)

This is a list of multiple nominated performers, athletes & actors with 5 or more career nominations. Beyoncé is currently the most nominated performer with 61 nominations, solo and with Destiny's Child.[ citation needed ]

65 nominations

51 nominations

43 nominations

35 nominations

33 nominations

31 nominations

29 nominations

23 nominations

21 nominations

19 nominations

18 nominations

17 nominations

16 nominations

15 nominations

14 nominations

13 nominations

12 nominations

11 nominations

10 nominations

9 nominations

8 nominations

7 nominations

6 nominations

5 nominations

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