Nicki Minaj won Best Female Hip Hop Artist for the fourth year running
Multi-nominee Drake mysteriously pulled out of the show at the last minute
By ELEANOR GOWER
BET's censors struggled to bleep out some of the singer's expletives during her appearance.
She later swapped the oufit for an equally plunging black leather and a long skirt to accept the award for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, for the fourth year running.
'This is my fourth award in a row and everytime I win it's a humbling experience because my fans are such amazing people,' Nicki said in her acceptance speech.
'They inspire me. I'm going to keep doing it for you all. BET, you've been supporting me from day one.'
BET censors scrambling at the end of Brown's performance
Mariah Carey took to the stage to perform her latest hit Beautiful
'First off, I want to thank Nicki for performing with me and making it an incredible performance. Thank you baby girl,' he said, before voicing his appreciation to 'Team Breezy.'
He ended by telling the crowd: 'Don't read the bull in the news. I'm a real dude.'
Mariah performed on a typically elaborate set for a memorable number
Mariah also showed off her cleavage in a plunging gown
It wasn't the end of Minaj's presence at the ceremony - she later joined Ciara for a performance of Body Party.
And the 27-year-old proved to be a striking stage presence in an outfit decorated with one dollar bills.
Earlier, Minaj's American Idol arch rival Mariah Carey took to the stage to perform new song Beautiful with Miguel and Young Jeezy.
Chris Brown put in an enthusiastic performance of two of his hits to open the 2013 BET Awards
Brown accepted the Fandemonium Award for the fourth year in a row
After a video montage honouring 60-year-old Wilson's life in music, India Arie, Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder all took to the stage.
Arie sung There Goes My Baby, Foxx performed Yearning For Your Love and Wonder wowed the crowd with Burn Rubber and Why You Want to Hurt Me
'It is by God's grace that has allowed me to stand here today still at the top of my game,' Wilson told the crowd in his acceptance speech.
The Gap Band star didn't need much persuading to sing a number or two himself and brought the audience to its feet with his song You Are before being joined onstage by Pharrell Williams and Snoop Lion before Timberlake stepped out to form an unlikely quartet.
The foursome ended the spectacular with Gap hits You Dropped a Bomb on Me and Outstanding.
In a performance-packed show, Robin Thicke took the stage to perform his international hit Blurred Lines.
The BET Awards 2013: THE WINNERS
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Rihanna
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: Chris Brown
Best Group: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Best Collaboration: A$AP Rocky (featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar) – F***in’ Problems
Best Male Hip Hop Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
Video Of The Year: Drake - Started From the Bottom
Video Director of the Year: Benny Boom
Best New Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Best Gospel Artist: Mary Mary
Best Actress: Kerry Washington
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx
YoungStars Award: Gabrielle Douglas
Best Movie: Think Like a Man
Subway Sportswoman of the Year: Gabrielle Douglas
Subway Sportsman of the Year: LeBron James
Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award: Drake – Started From the Bottom
Centric Award: Tamar Braxton – Love and War
Best International Act: Africa
2Face Idibia (Nigeria)
Toya Delazy (South Africa)
Donald (South Africa)
Ice Prince (Nigeria)
Radio and Weasel (Uganda)
Humanitarian Award: Dwyane Wade
Lifetime Achievement Award: Charlie Wilson
FANdemonium Award: Chris Brown