Young Money’s Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, D’Angelo, Busta Rhymes, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and more helped make host Samuel L. Jackson‘s BET Awards 2012 a night to remember.

The show kicked off with renowned movie director Spike Lee joining Jackson on-stage for their version of hit single “N*ggas In Paris.”

The Black Entertainment Television airwaves are lighting up as the BET Awards is bringing its annual parade of black Hollywood and music industry talent to America, with the big winners thus far including Nicki Minaj, Kevin Hart, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West. The show opened with Spike Lee joining host Samuel L. Jackson on the stage to deliver a hilarious rendition of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “N*ggas in Paris”–except theirs was called “Negroes in Paris.” Kanye West and Jay-Z won for Best Group and when Kanye went onstage to accept the award, apparently unaware that Jay-Z was in the house, he appeared shocked when Jay walked out to join him. (Atlanta Black Star)

Following Jackson and Lee’s set, rap star Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music team invaded the BET Awards stage.

G.O.O.D. Music kicked off the show as Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz performed “Mercy” before Kanye ripped through “Cold” and an a capella version of his new single, “New God Flow”. Shortly after, Kanye and Jay-Z were awarded Best Music Group for The Throne and both rappers appeared on stage to make a brief acceptance speech. D’Angelo performed a melody of songs, including his hit single “Untitled (How Does It Feel” and the new song “Sugar Daddy”, which was co-written by Q-Tip. (Consequence of Sound)

Music divas Nicki Minaj and Beyonce Knowles-Carter avoided going home empty-handed.

Claiming the Best Female R&B Artist was none other than Beyonce Knowles. Defeating the likes of Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Marsha Ambrosius and Melanie Fiona, the “Love on Top” singer dedicated her award to late diva Whitney Houston. After Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group performed on stage, Nicki Minaj was announced by presenter Busta Rhymes as the winner of the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Tyler Perry, meanwhile, presented the Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award to Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. (Ace Showbiz)

Male stars like Chris Brown and comedian Kevin Hart also stole the night.

Other early winners included Chris Brown for best male R&B artist, his second consecutive win in the category. Kevin Hart — who hosted the awards last year — also won for best actor, Big Sean was named best new artist and Wale and Miguel’s smooth hit “Lotus Flower Bomb” won best collaboration. (Los Angeles Times)

During the annual BET showcase, a new Lil Wayne-Mountain Dew commercial aired.

Lil’ Wayne’s new spot for Mountain Dew debuted tonight during the 2012 BET Awards. In the ‘This Is How I DEW’ ad, Weezy hits the stage at SXSW. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you got anything from me,” he tells the roaring crowd, “It’s to find your thing and DO YOU because we all know it’s not what you do, it’s how you do that’s important. This is how I do!” (RapFix)

Check out some of the BET Awards footage below: