NEW YORK (Reuters) – Music’s power couple Jay Z and Beyoncé, and rapper Drake led the BET Awards nominations announced on Wednesday with five nods each, followed by R&B singer Pharrell Williams and hip-hop singer August Alsina with four.
Jay Z and Drake will vie for best male hip-hop artist along with Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. The two will also battle it out for video of the year with other nominees Beyoncé, Chris Brown and Williams.
Beyoncé also earned nods for best female R&B/pop artist and best collaboration, with husband Jay Z on “Drunk in Love,” as well as nominations for video of the year for “Drunk in Love” and her song “Partition.”
“This year’s nominees represent the best of our culture,” Stephen Hill, BET’s president of music programming and specials, said in a statement.
The annual BET Awards began in 2001 to celebrate African-American and other minorities in categories spanning music, film and sports. The awards will be presented live on the cable TV network BET, Black Entertainment Television, which is part of Viacom Inc, on June 29 from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
In the film category, Oscar nominees Angela Bassett and Oprah Winfrey as well as Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington and Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o scored nods for top actress.
Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker along with Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan will compete for the best actor award.
Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, basketball players LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Blake Griffin and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. earned nominations in the sports category.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Nick Zieminski)