Nicki Minaj told the crowd at the BET Awards that she was close to death recently — an experience that has helped her be herself.
The rapper rambled onstage when accepting her fifth consecutive win for best female hip-hop artist, where she thanked
"The other day, literally I didn't tell anybody this, I really thought I was about to die. Like, I was saying my prayers to die. And I didn't even want to call the ambulance because I thought, 'Well if I call the ambulance, it's going to be on TMZ,'" she said, as some of the audience laughed.
"And I would rather sit there and die," she added, looking to the crowd. "And it made me realize I don't care what anybody got to say. I'm going to do me."
Minaj performed her latest single, "Pills N Potions," and also won best group with her
A video of
Pharrell's ubiquitous "Happy" kept a smile on the musician's face: The song won video of the year. His win for the top prize came in the second hour of the four-hour ceremony. Last year, the network didn't announce the top award in the jam-packed show.
Pharrell thanked his family, fans who elevated the song to No. 1 and
"(BET) allows us as black people to be different and do what we do," he told the crowd. "You guys keep the lights on for us."
The multitalented Pharrell, who also won best male R&B/pop artist, kicked off the show with a playful performance of "Come Get It Bae" featuring the reclusive
It helped take attention away from a fatal shooting and a separate stabbing at unsanctioned parties celebrating the ceremony. One person was killed and five injured in separate incidents ahead of the show,
The death and four of the injuries followed gunfire early Sunday at a restaurant, Officer
The show featured a medley of hits from Usher and Iggy Azalea performed her anthemic "Fancy," which is spending its fifth week on top of the Billboard charts.
John Legend sang his groove "You and I" and was joined by rising newcomer Jhene Aiko, who won over the crowd by singing "The Worst" as Legend played piano.
Alsina, also a rising star, was also a powerhouse with his vocals during his performance, which featured Brown and Trey Songz. Alsina was tearful when he won the night's first award for best new artist.
"I represent the struggle," the
When winning the viewer's choice award, where he beat
"I'm glad I sang the song first. Otherwise, I would not be here onstage," Richie said, holding his award. He excitedly performed "Easy Like
A tribute to 90s R&B was met with praise, too: Groups like Silk, Color Me Badd and Troop performed well-known jams that enticed the crowd.
The late icons
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