The 2005 BET Awards held June 28, 2005 kicked off in high fashion with a surprise reunion of the Fugees. Group members Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras hit the stage to perform "Fugee-La" and "Killing Me Softly." The trio have not recorded together since 1996 and were rumored to not be on speaking terms recently. Backstage Pras announced that the group are currently in the studio working on new material. The mood was set for an evening of eye-catching performances.
Co-hosts and marriage partners Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrived onstage in a horse-drawn carriage with spinning custom Sprewell rims. Will Smith announced that they wanted to make the BET Awards rank with the Emmys, the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Tonys. "The white ones," according to Jada Pinkett Smith.
Other hot performances included Destiny's Child, who recently announced an impending breakup, The Game with Mary J. Blige, and Missy Elliott with Ciara. Best New Artist winner John Legend performed with living legend Stevie Wonder who then danced while performing his own new single "So What the Fuss." Toni Braxton and Faith Evans sang classic Gladys Knight material before Knight herself, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, performed her hits "If I Was Your Woman," "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be the First To Say Goodbye)," and "Midnight Train To Georgia."
Among the evening's big award winners were Usher, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Omarion. See the full list of winners on page 2.