Marvel film Black Panther was honoured at the BET Awards as Meek Mill paid tribute to fellow rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed last week.
Mill wore a hoodie bearing an image of the late 20-year-old’s face.
Black Panther picked up the best movie award and director Ryan Coogler urged the audience to visit Africa, saying his journey there “changed my life”.
“(The film) was about tapping into that voice that tells us to be proud of who we are.”
Kendrick Lamar won the best male hip hop artist award while Cardi B won the female equivalent.
Video of the year went to Drake for God’s Plan.
Other winners included DJ Khaled and Bruno Mars.
Jamie Foxx hosted the annual ceremony for a second time – the awards celebrate African Americans and other American minorities in music, film and sports.
Not everyone was enthused about his performance though.
Some noted the actor largely went off-script.
At one point, Foxx appeared on stage in a robe, slippers and boxer shorts, holding a cup of coffee.
The crowd were delighted when he brought Donald Glover – AKA Childish Gambino – up on the stage.
Glover said: “I really was not expecting to get up here.”
Mill paid tribute to XXXTentacion during a performance of his new song Stay Woke.
XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot in Florida last week at the age of 20.
Mill, who was released from prison earlier this year, wore a hoodie bearing the rapper’s image while he performed Stay Woke.
The performance referenced police violence against young African Americans as well as prison reform.
Mill was supposed to serve between two and four years for breaking the terms of his probation but was granted bail by a court over “credibility” concerns with a witness.
A high profile campaign to free him began with stars like Jay-Z, Beyonce and Kevin Hart pledging their support to the rapper.
R&B legend Anita Baker was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 60-year-old appeared emotional as she watched Foxx, Yolanda Adams, Ledisi and Marsha Ambrosius perform a medley of her hits including Caught Up In The Rapture, Angel and Sweet Love.