The BET Awards have become a showcase for the year's most popular and groundbreaking music.
This year, the big winners were Beyonce and Pharrell Williams, CBS News Correspondent Kevin Frazier reports.
Beyonce won three awards, including best female R&B/pop artist, and video of the year for "Drunk In Love." Pharrell won best male R&B/pop artist.
Multiple award-winner Pharrell Williams opened the show at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with special surprise guest Missy Elliott. The duo performed "Come Get It Bae," off Pharrell's 2014 album, "GIRL."
Pharrell, this year's Best Male R&B Artist Award winner, credited the fans for making his song "Happy" the break-out, feel-good song of 2014.
"You turned it into a phenomenon," Pharrell said. "It's the award that belongs to all the people."
Comedian Chris Rock hosted the show.
"Welcome to the 2014 BET Awards, the Black World Cup," he said.
Rock found an easy target in LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling,
"What did he say? 'I don't want my woman around black basketball players,'" Rock said. "Me neither, are you kidding me?"
Other performances included Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Nicki Minaj, lost in Wonderland complete with a White Rabbit.
Viewers were promised a performance by Beyonce and Jay-Z, but they weren't in the theater, performing remotely from the road instead.
A special Humanitarian Award went to activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and honoring all those who fought for racial equality.
John Legend paid tribute to Lifetime Achievement Honoree Lionel Richie by singing one of his classics, "Hello."
Then, one of the night's emotional high points, Mr. Richie took the stage and brought down the house, singing "All Night Long."