Producer Dj Mustard reigned supreme at the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards, landing four trophies at the annual music prizegiving. The producer/DJ, real name Dijon McFarlane, went into the ceremony nominated in four categories, and was named the victor in each one.
Mustard was named the MVP of the Year, beating the likes of Drake, Jay Z, and Nicki Minaj, as well as the DJ of the Year and Producer of the Year.
His production of hit record My Hitta, by YG and featuring Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan, rounded out the awards haul with Track of the Year. The trio also won for Best Collaboration, Duo or Group.
Also taking home two awards were Drake (Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop Video - Worst Behaviour) and Kendrick Lamar (Lyricist of the Year, and Sweet 16: Best Feature Verse).
The ceremony, which aired in the U.S. on Tuesday (14Oct14), but was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, last month (Sep14), was hosted by Snoop Dogg and included performances from Bobby Shmurda, Rich Gang, Migos, and veteran rapper Doug E. Fresh, who received the I Am Hip-Hop Award.
But the most moving performance of the night came from Common, who recruited fellow rappers Vince Staples and Jay Electronica to join him on his track Kingdom.
Common dedicated the song to Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African-American who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking race riots and protests from citizens in the community and across the country.
Common told the crowd, "We do this for the people. Black people all around this country in America that go through the struggle. We do this for our lost soldiers, our fallen soldiers."
At the end, the MC brought Brown's parents to the stage, as they were received with a round of applause and supportive cheers. The performers as well as the audience lifted their hands up in a moment of silence in honour of Brown.
Rocker Tom Morello has released a track to support the protesters in Missouri seeking justice for the the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. In August (14), race riots between locals and law enforcement officials in Ferguson erupted after Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, was shot and killed by a white police officer investigating a robbery.
While a grand jury is still meeting to decide whether the cop who killed Brown will be charged, thousands of citizens gathered in Ferguson on Friday (10Oct14) for "Ferguson October", a planned weekend of four-day protests.
The Rage Against the Machine star and outspoken activist is doing his part to support the protesters by releasing a track called Marching on Ferguson, which was inspired by the events surrounding Brown's death and its impact on the community.
While the song is available to download for free on the Ferguson October website, fans are urged to donate to the cause in order to help the protesters' legal battles.
Morello tells Rolling Stone that while he was inspired by the citizens of Ferguson to write the song, he hopes the track will in turn inspire them to continue their fight for justice.
He says, "100 per cent of the profits from Marching On Ferguson will support defending the protesters in the Ferguson area who have faced attacks, wrongful arrest, and violence from the police.
"I've witnessed countless incidents of racially motivated police brutality in my lifetime and it's time to say 'Enough!' in the name of all those wrongfully killed and abused. For all the courageous men and women raising their voices against injustice in Ferguson, and beyond, give 'em hell. This song is for you."
Chris Brown will lead the way at the 2014 Soul Train Awards after scoring seven nominations. The Kiss Kiss hitmaker is bouncing back from months of legal troubles, which included a prison stint earlier this year (14) after he was kicked out of a court-ordered rehab programme for anger management, and now he has been given a career boost. He will compete for the titles of Song of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, Best Dance Performance and Best Collaboration for his track Loyal, featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.
His New Flame duet with Usher is shortlisted for Video of the Year, while he will fight for Best R&B/Soul Male Act against the likes of five-time nominee Pharrell Williams, Trey Songz and John Legend.
Meanwhile, Williams will go head-to-head with Beyonce, who has notched up six nods, for Album of the Year. Other nominees in the coveted category are John Legend, Drake, Janelle Monae and Michael Jackson, whose posthumous release, Xscape, makes the shortlist.
Beyonce and Monae are also in the running for Best R&B/Soul Female Act, alongside Jennifer Hudson and Jhene Aiko.
The 2014 Soul Train Awards, which celebrate the best in black music, will take place in Las Vegas on 7 November (14).
Grey'S Anatomy star Jesse Williams was one of the thousands who rallied in Missouri over the weekend (ends12Oct14) seeking justice for the the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. In August (14), race riots between locals and law enforcement officials in Ferguson erupted after Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, was shot and killed by a white police officer investigating a robbery.
While a grand jury is still meeting to decide whether the cop who killed Brown will be charged, thousands of citizens gathered in Ferguson on Friday for "Ferguson October", a planned weekend of four-day protests.
Williams joined in on Saturday (11Oct14) as they marched 12 miles from Ferguson to nearby St. Louis, demanding the officer under trial be charged with a crime.
The actor documented his weekend on his various social media accounts, posting photos of himself talking to protesters and in the thick of the crowd's march to St. Louis.
One photo, showing Williams giving comfort to a distraught female protester, was posted alongside the caption, "This is a two way street. Ferguson, MO Oct 11, 2014."
Williams is also part of the Question Bridge: Black Males video project team, which is documenting Ferguson October to "archiving the thoughts and concerns of the people and recording Black males asking and answering the questions that matter to them," according to his Tumblr page.
Williams isn't the only celebrity in town to show support for the protests - artists such as Talib Kweli, dead prez, and Jasiri X performed at a free Hip Hop 4 Justice concert on Sunday (12Oct14).
Celebrity tattoo artist Trigz has died after he was shot outside his parlour in Pacoima, California on Thursday night (09Oct14). The 40 year old, real name Michael Christopher Pebley, reportedly worked with clients including Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown and rocker Travis Barker.
The shooting occurred following a fight inside his Sin City Tattoo Shop.
Pharrell Williams has become the latest celebrity to urge U.S. leader President Barack Obama to visit Ferguson, Missouri following last month's (Aug14) race riots between locals and law enforcement officials.
The town became a warzone after teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer investigating a robbery, and Williams is among those who feel Obama should have been there to calm tensions.
Pharrell tells CNN, "The President needs to go down there. When your parents come into the room, whether it's you or your cousin that knocked the vase down, you all stand at attention (sic)." Justifying his comments by stating, "I'm not into politics, but I have opinions", the Happy hitmaker insists the Ferguson drama is just the beginning of what could become a big problem for Obama and his aides, adding, "I'm disappointed in the way that it was handled from the government's side... This is a deeper laceration in this country... This is going to be the longest hangover in race relations ever."
But Williams, who believes the police officer at the centre of the Ferguson drama should be punished, insists black youths need to avoid clashes with cops, adding, "When they (police) told him (Brown) to get out of the road, he should have got out of the road (sic); I wouldn't have been in the road in the first place."
Rap stars including The Game Rick Ross 2 Chainz and Sean 'Diddy' Combs have joined forces to record a new protest track dedicated to the African-American teen whose death earlier this month (Aug14) sparked the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Unarmed Michael Brown's death at the hands of a police officer prompted a series of stand-offs between activists, locals and cops, while stars like Lauryn Hill, Nelly, Common and Diddy paid tribute to the dead teen, who was laid to rest two weeks ago.
And now The Game has gathered some of hip-hop's biggest names to record and release the track Don't Shoot, which is dedicated to Brown.
The track also features Fabolous, Wale and Swizz Beatz, among others, while TGT members Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank join a kids choir for the song's chorus.
Rapper Lil Wayne has reportedly been slapped with a new paternity suit amid allegations he is the father of a 12-year-old boy. Keiotia Brown filed legal papers in a Miami, Florida courthouse earlier this month (Aug14), seeking a DNA test from the Lollipop hitmaker to determine if he is or isn't her son Dwayne Keyshawn Brown's biological dad.
If the results are positive, she plans to obtain a court order against the hip-hop star, real name Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., for child support.
The kid's grandmother, Brenda Ann Brown, previously attempted to establish the youngster's paternity back in August, 2010, but a judge postponed the DNA testing until the end of the year as Wayne was behind bars, serving time for weapons possession, when he received the legal notice.
However, it appears he failed to submit to the testing and now his alleged former lover, Keiotia, is attempting to get to the bottom of the case once and for all.
Lil Wayne is already a dad to four children with four different women. He has a daughter named Reginae with his ex-wife Antonia Carter, a son named Lennox with actress/model Lauren London, boy Neal with singer Nivea and another kid, called Dwayne III, with an unnamed ex-lover.
The rapper has yet to respond to the new paternity suit.
R&B star Monica has called for an end to "senseless acts of violence" after a close family friend was shot dead over the weekend (23-24Aug14). The So Gone hitmaker took to her Instagram.com account on Saturday (23Aug14) to share her heartbreak after a pal identified only as Chris, who was friends with her brother-in-law David Brown, was killed.
Monica, who is married to basketball player Shannon Brown, stopped short of revealing specific details about his death, but used the opportunity to urge U.S. lawmakers to do more to curb the increasing numbers of gun-related murders across the country.
She shared a photo of Chris with his child on her Instagram page, and in the accompanying caption, she wrote, "With a heavy heart & tear filled eyes I send all my love and condolences to my brother @dcaffe & his family. RIP Chris your friendship & loyalty to my brother made you MY FAMILY...
"I've stopped asking why to ask WHEN.. When will these senseless acts of violence stop.. You were gunned down, taken from your children & in this cold cruel world that cares more now about reporting fashion & who's dating who there was barely a mention on the news.. #WakeUpWorld the old burying the young is NOT the way it's supposed to be. People only care for us as much as we care for ourselves... Change has GOT to come!!! #GoneToSoon (sic)".
Monica's plea is particularly timely following the ongoing uproar and protests over the controversial police shooting of unarmed Missouri teenager Michael Brown, who was killed as he attempted to surrender to a cop on 9 August (14). Brown, who is of no relation to the singer's family, was laid to rest on Monday (25Aug14).
Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry ruled the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Sunday (24Aug14), by picking up the biggest honours. The Roar hitmaker took home the first Moonman trophy of the night for Best Female Video for Dark Horse and was joined onstage by rapper Juicy J who appeared on the track.
Cyrus, who returned to the prizegiving a year after causing a stir with her raunchy routine with Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, was all about the message this year, choosing to use her Video of the Year acceptance speech for Wrecking Ball to pay tribute to homeless youths.
The pop star sent a man named Jesse to accept the prize on her behalf for the "1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States, who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now."
He continued, "I know this because I am one of these people... If you want to make a powerful change in the world right now, please join us and go to Miley's Facebook.com page. A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality."
Beyonce was feted with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and wowed the crowd with a show-stopping performance featuring a medley of hits from her self-titled album, including Partition, Flawless and Drunk in Love.
After her stunning set, which brought the audience to its feet, she was presented with the accolade by daughter Blue Ivy and husband Jay Z, who called his wife "the greatest living entertainer."
Beyonce tearfully accepted her award, saying, "I'm so full. Thank you, I have nothing to say, but I'm filled with so much gratitude. I just thank God for this moment and I love y'all so much. Blue I love you, my beloved I love you, my fans I love you, MTV I love you, goodnight."
The moment appeared to be her bid to once and for all end divorce rumours.
Ed Sheeran and Fifth Harmony were also big winners, taking home the Best Male Video and Artist to Watch awards, respectively.
Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J kicked off the ceremony with Grande singing her hit Break Free, followed by Nicki Minaj giving a jungle-themed performance of her new track Anaconda.
Jessie J then started off the trio's new hit song Bang Bang, but Minaj suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction when she did not complete her quick-change in time and was forced to hold the front of her dress together so as to not expose her bare breasts as she returned to the stage.
Other performance highlights included Sam Smith with his hit song Stay With Me and Maroon 5, who made their VMAs debut with a performance of Maps outside of the venue.
Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora also hit the The Forum stage for their first-ever live performance of Black Widow.
There was also a couple of serious moments in among the festivities - Robin Williams, who passed away earlier this month (Aug14), was remembered and rapper Common asked for a moment of silence for Missouri teenager, Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August (14), sparking the ongoing unrest in the state.
The 2014 MTV VMAs winners at press time were:
Video of the Year - Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Best Hip-Hop Video - Hold On (We're Going Home) by Drake featuring Majid Jordan
Best Male Video - Sing by Ed Sheeran
Best Female Video - Dark Horse by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
Best Pop Video - Problem by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
Artist to Watch - Fifth Harmony
Best Rock Video - Royals by Lorde
Best Lyric Video - Don't Stop by 5 Seconds of Summer
MTV Clubland Award - Stay the Night by Zedd featuring Hayley Williams
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award - Beyonce