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Cardi B, UK's Ella Mai among BET winners

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Cardi B accepts the album of the year award for "Invasion of Privacy" at the BET Awards (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Cardi B and British star Ella Mai were among those to pick up gongs at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards.

The annual ceremony celebrates black and minority entertainers in music, film, TV and sport and took place in Los Angeles on Sunday.

A star-studded audience including Rihanna, John Legend and Sean 'Diddy' Combs watched as Cardi B took home the first big prize of the night, scooping album of the year for Grammy-winning major label debut Invasion Of Privacy.

Taking to the stage, she said the "numbers don't lie" about the record, which has been certified triple platinum in the US.

Cardi B, 26, won album of the year ahead of Travis Scott's Astroworld, Meek Mill's Championships, The Carters' Everything Is Love and Mai's self-titled work.

Disappointment did not last long for London-born Mai, who enjoyed a breakout year in the US thanks to her huge single Boo'd Up.

The 24-year-old won the viewers' choice award for her song Trip, seeing off heavyweight competition in the form of Drake, Childish Gambino and Scott.

Accepting the prize, Mai thanked BET, saying she was a "little girl from London, England" and "this is proof that you let the music do the talking".

Performers at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles included Lizzo, DJ Khalid, Migos and H.E.R. Rapper Lil Nas X and country singer Billy Ray Cyrus also treated the audience to No.1 hit Old Town Road.

Rihanna, recently named the richest female musician in the world, introduced lifetime achievement award honouree Mary J Blige, thanking her for opening "multiple doors for female artists in this industry".

Blige, who started her career in 1989 and has since sold more than 80 million records around the world, is often dubbed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. She performed a medley of hits including No More Drama and Just Fine.

Two other honorary awards were handed out at the ceremony. Late rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot dead earlier this year, was honoured with the humanitarian award, while filmmaker Tyler Perry won the icon award.

If Beale Street Could Talk star Regina King won best actress and Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan won best actor, while international act went to Nigeria's Burna Boy, who won ahead of British acts Dave and Giggs.

© PAA 2019