Tears & Tributes at the BET Awards: Chris Brown Breaks Down, Kanye Comes Back

Celebrities and hip hop royalty gathered for a night of comeback performances and tearful tributes during the 2010 BET Awards Sunday night.

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Chris Brown performs a tribute to Michael Jackson at the BET Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
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Celebrities and hip hop royalty gathered for a night of comeback performances and tearful tributes during the 2010 BET Awards Sunday. Embattled R&B artist Chris Brown -- in his first major TV performance since pleading guilty in the 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna -- broke down on stage during his tribute to Michael Jackson.
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Brown began his performance with high energy, mimicking Jackson's dance moves to "Billie Jean" and moonwalking across the stage while wearing a fedora and white glove.
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Brown, who was banned from last year's BET Awards, has mostly kept a low profile since pleading guilty to felony assault for beating up Rihanna in February 2009. When the pop star took the mic to sing "Man in the Mirror," Brown gasped for air and teared up as he could barely get out the lyrics, "make a change."
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Jermaine Jackson comforted the shaken Brown following the R&B artist's performance. Later in the show, Chris Brown reappeared on stage and told his fans, "I let you all down before, but I won't do it again."
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Kanye West -- who has kept a low profile since crashing Taylor Swift's acceptance speech during the MTV Video Music Awards last year -- opened the show with his new single, "Power," atop a "volcano" with a 3D storm brewing on the screen behind him. The outspoken hip hop mogul stunned the audience at the 2009 award show when he claimed on stage that Beyonce should have won instead of Swift for MTV's "Best Female Video."
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Recently sprung rapper T.I. performed "Yeah Ya Know" with drummer Travis Barker at the award ceremony. This was T.I.'s first televised performance since he was released from prison in December. He was serving time for weapons charges.
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Eminem also made a comeback of his own after performing a song from his newly released album, "Recovery."
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Other memorable moments of the night included two performances by Alicia Keys.
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The songstress and mommy-to-be was the big winner of the night, taking home the awards for Best Female R&B Artist and Best Collaboration with Jay- Z on their New York anthem, "Empire State of Mind."
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The ladies led the other tribute of the night, as Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding and Alicia Keys each performed Prince classics. Prince was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Janelle Monae, singer of the hit "Tightrope," stood out from the pack and showed off her dance moves and vocal skills in the live tribute to Prince.
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The pop legend looked on during the tribute.
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The Purple One, adorned in a shirt with an image of himself and his symbol, was as cool as ever when he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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The Black Eyed Peas did not perform, but Taboo, apl.de.ap, will.i.am and Fergie presented the award for Best Male R&B Artist and gave shout outs to Prince.
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Host Queen Latifah showcased some of her old throw-back threads on stage.
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John Legend was honored with a special Humanitarian Award for his charity work focused on education and health care. The musician encouraged the audience to use their influence to end poverty and give kids "a real shot at the American Dream."
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Drake surprised the audience when he won Best Male Hip Hop Artist over favorite Jay-Z.
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Trey Songz invited his mom, April Tucker, to the stage to accept his award for Best Male R&B Artist. Songz also performed a tribute song to honor Prince.
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Musician Nicki Minaj took home the Best Female Hip Hop Artist award.
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Other performers included Usher who returned to the BET stage to sing "There Goes My Baby."
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Even Actors Nia Long and Larenz Tate brought some heat to the stage when they recited a sultry poem together.
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The red carpet was a family affair with Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden Smith, and Youngstar nominee, Willow.
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Travis Barker also showed up to the red carpet with his children.
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TV personality Nick Cannon couldn't keep himself away from the action as he interviewed red carpet arrivals at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California.
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Fergie of The Balck Eyes Peas arrived at the BET Awards where she gave out an award and proclaimed her love for Prince.
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'Chilli' aka Singer Rozonda Thomas took a break from her reality show to attend the 2010 BET Awards.
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Musician and humanitarian honoree John Legend always looks smooth on the red carpet.
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Rapper T.I. made a last-minute phone call as he arrived on the red carpet for the 2010 BET Awards. T.I. made his first televised performance since being released from prison in December.
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Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs made his appearance on the red carpet and closed the show with a performance.
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Everyone might hate Chris, but we love actor, Tyler James Williams, who was up for the Youngstars award.
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Singer Ciara showed off a little leg in a very mini dress on the red carpet.
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Casandra Ventura shows off her mid-drift on the red carpet.
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America's Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford arrived on the red carpet wearing some seriously studded pumps.
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Adorable actress Nia Long, who voices the character Roberta Tubbs on the "Cleveland Show," looked as cute as ever on the red carpet.
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Singer Ashanti arrived on the red carpet in a red stunner.
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The boys of N.E.R.D -- Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams and Shay Haley -- post for the cameras on the BET Award red carpet.
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Actress Vivica A. Fox did not forget to add the bling on the red carpet -- check out that ring on her right hand.
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Kojo arrived on the red carpet in what looks like his kimono.
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Actress Brittany Daniel wasn't afraid to show off her "different sides" as she arrived on the red carpet in a skimpy stunner of a gown.
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