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Performers shine at BET Awards show

by The Associated Press on July 01, 2013 10:40 AM

LOS ANGELES —The BET Awards were barely about the actually awards as wild performances stole the night.

Janelle Monae ended the 3 1/2-hour-plus event with a top-notch performance of “Q.U.E.E.N.” alongside Erykah Badu, who brought a white poodle onstage.

It was just one of the night’s best performances, which also featured stolen moments from a seductive Ciara, a slick Miguel, a random — but welcomed — reggae set and a playful Justin Timberlake with an even more playful Charlie Wilson.

Timberlake took a backseat to the soul singer, joining Wilson onstage for a medley of his solo and Gap Band hits.

Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg and India.Arie were also part of the tribute to Wilson, 60, who earned the lifetime achievement award.

Ciara echoed Janet Jackson when she danced and sang her R&B hit “Body Party,” while Dawn Penn, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Beenie Man and Elephant Man electrified the audience when they gave a colorful performance of reggae classics.

Drake, who didn’t attend the awards show, led with 12 nominations, including five for video of the year, winning the top honor with “Started from the Bottom.”

The rapper-singer also won viewer’s choice and best collaboration for his appearance on A$AP Rocky’s “(Expletive) Problems” with Lamar and 2 Chainz.

Lamar tied Drake with three wins, taking home best new artist, male hip-hop artist and collaboration.

Minaj and Brown picked up their fourth consecutive wins for best female hip-hop artist and the fandemonium award.

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NEW YORK — Jessica Simpson’s daughter has a new playmate — a baby brother named Ace.

Simpson’s rep confirmed that the entertainer gave birth to Ace Knute in Los Angeles on Sunday via planned C-section. The details were first reported by Us Weekly.

This is the second child for Simpson and her fiance, Eric Johnson. Simpson gave birth to daughter Maxwell last year.

Simpson, who got her start as a singer and has a successful apparel and accessories line, most recently appeared on NBC’s “Fashion Star.”

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NEW YORK — Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to the leader of Turkmenistan during a show, but her representative said she wouldn’t have performed there at all if she had known there were human rights issues in the country.

The singer and actress performed in the former Soviet bloc country on Saturday night. A statement released Sunday by her publicist to The Associated Press said the event was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corp. and wasn’t a political event.

However, the country’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, did attend. Berdimuhamedow has been criticized for oppressive rule by human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch describes Turkmenistan as “among the most repressive in the world.”

After a United Nations visit last month, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said the country had made progress in the area of human rights, but “a lot more work is needed to complete this process and to ensure practice is in line with international standards.”

Lopez’s publicist said the event was vetted by Lopez’s staff: “Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”

The birthday serenade was a last-minute request made by the corporation to Lopez before she took the stage, and she “graciously obliged,” the statement said.

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