Music producer Swizz Beatz (L) and US rapper Busta Rhymes perform on stage during the 2023 BET awards at the Microsoft theatre in Los Angeles, June 25, 2023.

Music producer Swizz Beatz (L) and US rapper Busta Rhymes perform on stage during the 2023 BET awards at the Microsoft theatre in Los Angeles, June 25, 2023.

Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP

BET Awards Marks 50 Years of Hip-Hop, Celebrates Musical Excellence at Star-Studded Event

The 2023 BET Awards celebrated 50 years of hip hop and handed out more than 20 awards for the best in Black entertainment.

The 2023 BET Awards, honoured the best in Black entertainment, last night at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. This year, the BET Awards paid homage to five decades of hip-hop, captivating audiences with electrifying performances and recognizing the industry's brightest stars. Renowned DJ Kid Capri curated special musical performances that showcased the evolution of hip-hop throughout the night.

Leading the pack of nominees was the superstar Drake, who received an astounding seven nominations, including categories like Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Album of the Year for his collaboration "Her Loss" with 21 Savage, and the highly coveted Viewer's Choice Award. 21 Savage and Lizzo also garnered significant recognition with five nominations each. Meanwhile, Beyoncé, Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Ice Spice, and SZA trailed closely behind with four nominations apiece.

Tems, the rising Nigerian sensation, made history once again by clinching the Best Collaboration Award for the second consecutive year. Her contribution to Future's hit track "Wait for U," featuring Drake, secured her this esteemed accolade. Notably, Tems had previously won the same award in 2022 for her participation in Wizkid's chart-topping remix of "Essence" alongside Justin Bieber.

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Rising Cameronian star Libianca secured the prestigious Viewer's Choice despite facing stiff competition from Asake from Nigeria, Camidoh from Ghana, Flo from the U.K., Maureen from France, MC Ryan SP from Brazil, Pabi Cooper from South Africa, Raye from the UK, and Werenoi from France.

Burna Boy, the Nigerian Afrobeat sensation, emerged triumphant in the highly competitive Best International Act category, surpassing other notable African artists such as Ayra Starr, K.O, and Uncle Waffles. This marked Burna Boy's fourth victory in the category, having previously claimed the title in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The 2022 recipient of the award was none other than the talented Tems.

The BET Awards' Best International Act category has been dominated exclusively by Nigerian artists since its inception in 2018, further highlighting the nation's musical prowess on the global stage. Notably, Davido, a previous winner of the Best International Act award, made a triumphant return to the BET stage, captivating the audience with a performance of his latest singles "Feel" and "Unavailable" from his recently released album, Timeless.

SZA and Beyoncé emerged as the night's most celebrated artists, each taking home three awards. Their achievements culminated in a rare tie for the Album of the Year Award.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Album of the Year

WINNER (TIE):Renaissance, Beyoncé

Anyways, Life’s Great, GloRilla
Breezy, Chris Brown
God Did, DJ Khaled
Her Loss, Drake & 21 Savage
Mr Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist


Ari Lennox
Coco Jones

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

WINNER (TIE): Chris Brown


Brent Faiyaz
Burna Boy
The Weeknd

Best Group

WINNER: Drake & 21 Savage

City Girls
Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin
Quavo & Takeoff

Best Collaboration

WINNER: “Wait For U,” Future feat. Drake & Tems

“Big Energy (Remix),” Latto & Mariah Carey feat. DJ Khaled
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” Pinkpantheress & Ice Spice
“Call Me Every Day,” Chris Brown feat. Wizkid
“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” King Combs feat. Kodak Black
“Creepin’,” Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage
“F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” Hitkidd & GloRilla
“Tomorrow 2,” GloRilla & Cardi B

Best Female Hip Hop Artist


Cardi B
Coi Leray
Ice Spice
Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

WINNER: Kendrick Lamar

21 Savage
J. Cole
Jack Harlow
Lil Baby

Video of the Year

WINNER: “Kill Bill,” SZA

“We (Warm Embrace),” Chris Brown
“2 Million Up,” Peezy, Jeezy & Real Boston Richey feat. Rob49
“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy
“First Class,” Harlow
“Tomorrow 2,” GloRilla & Cardi B

Video Director of the Year

WINNER: Teyana “Spike Tey” Taylor

A$AP Rocky for AWGE
Benny Boom
Burna Boy
Cole Bennett
Dave Free & Kendrick Lamar
Director X

Best New Artist

WINNER: Coco Jones

Ice Spice
Lola Brooke

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

WINNER: “Bless Me,” Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin

“Finished (Live),” Tamela Mann
“I’ve Got Joy,” CeCe Winans
“Kingdom,” Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin feat. Naomi Raine & Chandler Moore
“New,” Tye Tribbett
“One Moment From Glory,” Yolanda Adams
“The Better Benediction (Pt.2),” PJ Morton feat. Lisa Knowles-Smith, Le’andria Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Kierra Sheard & Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Viewer’s Choice Award

WINNER: “Break My Soul,” Beyoncé

“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“First Class,” Jack Harlow
“Jimmy Cooks,” Drake feat 21 Savage
“Kill Bill,” SZA
“Last Last,” Burna Boy
“Super Freaky Girl,” Nicki Minaj
“Wait For U,” Future feat. Drake & Tems

Best International Act

WINNER: Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Aya Nakamura (France)
Ayra Starr (Nigeria)
Central Cee (UK)
Ella Mai (UK)
Ko (South Africa)
L7nnon (Brazil)
Stormzy (UK)
Tiakola (France)
Uncle Waffles (Swaziland)

Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act

WINNER: Libianca (Cameroon)

Asake (Nigeria)
Camidoh (Ghana)
Flo (UK)
Maureen (France)
MC Ryan SP (Brazil)
Pabi Cooper (South Africa)
Raye (UK)
Werenoi (France)


WINNER: “Break My Soul,” Beyoncé

“About Damn Time,” Lizzo
“Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2,” Pinkpantheress & Ice Spice
“Her,” Megan Thee Stallion
“Lift Me Up,” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By – Rihanna & Ludwig Göransson
“Players,” Coi Leray
“Special,” Lizzo

Best Movie

WINNER:Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Creed 3
The Woman King
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Best Actor

WINNER: Damson Idris

Amin Joseph
Brian Tyree Henry
Daniel Kaluuya
Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory Jr.
Donald Glover
Michael B. Jordan

Best Actress

WINNER: Angela Bassett

Coco Jones
Janelle James
Janelle Monáe
Keke Palmer
Viola Davis

Youngstars Award

WINNER: Marsai Martin

Akira Akbar
Alaya High
Demi Singleton
Genesis Denise
Thaddeus J. Mixson
Young Dylan

Sportswoman of the Year Award

WINNER: Angel Reese

Alexis Morris
Allyson Felix
Candace Parker
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Sha’carri Richardson

Sportsman of the Year Award

WINNER: Jalen Hurts

Aaron Judge
Bubba Wallace
Gervonta Davis
Lebron James
Patrick Mahomes
Stephen Curry