- Associated Press - Sunday, June 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Amid awards for the top artists, actors and athletes, Steve Harvey was recognized for his humanitarian work at the BET Awards.

BET Chairman and Chief Executive Debra Lee called the 54-year-old entertainer “a true gentleman who acts like a comedian but thinks like a citizen of the world” as she presented him with the Humanitarian Award.

Harvey thanked God and his fellow philanthropists as he accepted the honor.

Patti LaBelle also accepted a special honor at Sunday’s ceremony; Gladys Knight presented her with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I plan to hold myself up higher because I’ve gotten this wonderful award,” the 67-year-old singer said, and then she grabbed a microphone and sang a pair of hits, including the breakthrough hit “Lady Marmalade.”

Harvey and LaBelle were among dozens of artists recognized at the BET Awards, which were presented at the Shrine Auditorium.

The night’s leading nominee, Chris Brown, collected four awards in all. The 21-year-old singer won a pair of prizes early in the show and two fan-voted awards at the end of the ceremony.

Brown was named best male R&B artist and won best collaboration for his song “Look At Me Now” with Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.

Brown accepted the collaboration award after performing a medley that including the winning track.

“Public-speaking is not my strong suit,” he said, thanking BET and his fans before passing the microphone to Wayne, who expressed gratitude to Brown for including him on the track. Busta Rhymes rapped his acceptance.

Earlier in the ceremony, Brown also thanked his fans and the network: “I appreciate all the support. I know it’s been a long road, so I appreciate every blessing in front of me.”

Lil Wayne also came on stage when Nicki Minaj accepted her award for best female hip-hop artist.

“I can’t believe for the first time I get to share a moment like this with the person who saw me rapping on a staircase,” she said of the rapper and producer, who was incarcerated when she won the same prize last year. “Lil Wayne, I love you.”

Minaj was joined by Justin Bieber to present the male hip-hop artist award later in the show. Kanye West won but wasn’t on hand to accept the trophy.

Instead of traditional awards-show winners’ envelopes, winners were revealed on a tablet device provided by Sprint. But the tablet proved tricky when it was time to announce the winner of the Viewers’ Choice award.

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