NEW YORK - Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown on Monday led the nominations for the Black Entertainment Television awards, with each in the running in six categories.
Minaj, one of the most prominent female rappers, was nominated for best woman in hip-hop and five other awards.
Brown - whose popularity quickly rebounded after his 2009 arrest for beating then-girlfriend Rihanna - was in contention for best male pop or R&B artist.
Pop superstar Beyonce and outspoken rapper Lil Wayne both had four nominations.
The BET Awards will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles. The award ceremony, designed to recognise African American and other minority artists, is in its 15th edition.
Sam Smith, the British soul singer who was the big winner at the latest Grammy Awards, was a rare white nominee with nods in two categories including best new artist.
Iggy Azalea, a white Australian, was also nominated. She is up for top woman in hip-hop against a field that includes Minaj and Azealia Banks, who stirred controversy by publicly accusing Azalea of exploiting African American culture.