A fatal shooting and a separate stabbing at unsanctioned parties celebrating Sunday’s BET Awards cast a shadow over the event, where top superstars like Lil Wayne, Chris Rock and others were set to mark the best in black entertainment.
One person was killed and five injured in two separate incidents ahead of the show at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Los Angeles police said. The events were “unauthorized and unaffiliated with the BET Awards,” BET said in a statement.
“The network and all organizers will continue to maintain a safe environment for all planned activities,” the statement said.
The death and four of the injuries followed gunfire early Sunday at a restaurant, Officer Drake Madison said. Separately, a man was stabbed in the stomach Saturday night at a nightclub.
The violence could change the mood at the ceremony. This year, some of the performers include Pharrell, John Legend and Nicki Minaj.
Top nominees are Drake, Beyonce and Jay Z, who have five each.
Drake, who was originally set to perform at the show, will not attend, BET said Sunday. A representative for Beyonce also said the singer wouldn’t attend, and her husband’s rep wouldn’t divulge if Jay Z would be there or not. Their attendance had nothing to do with the violence at the weekend parties.
Drake didn’t attend last year’s show, where he won video of the year. This year, the 27-year-old rapper’s “Worst Behavior” is nominated for the top prize, competing with Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” and “Partition,” as well as Pharrell’s “Happy” and Chris Brown’s “Fine China.”
Beyonce and Jay Z launched a co-headlining stadium tour days ago. She is nominated for best female R&B/pop artist, with little competition aside from Rihanna, while her husband will battle Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Future for best male hip-hop artist.
Pharrell scored four nominations, including best male R&B/pop artist, best collaboration for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and the viewer’s choice award. Beyonce, Drake and rising newcomers August Alsina and Jhene Aiko are also up for the fan-voted award.
Thicke, who is set to release his new album, “Paula” – an ode to his wife, Paula Patton, whom he is separated from – on Tuesday, will perform Sunday. Usher, Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige and Iggy Azalea will also take the stage.
Minaj and Azalea – whose anthemic “Fancy” has spent its fifth week on top of the Billboard charts – will compete for best female hip-hop artist, an award Minaj has won consecutively for four years.
Lionel Richie will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the show, to be hosted by Chris Rock. Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union are among this year’s presenters.
The BET Awards will air live at 8 p.m. EDT.