Top hip-hop and R&B artists were playing it cool at the third annual Vibe Awards, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s brawl and stabbing.
Leading the field late Saturday with five nominations was Ciara, while Kanye West, Mariah Carey, John Legend and 50 Cent had four nominations each.
“I come into the building with positive energy, hoping the best for my people, for us just to be happy for one another,” singer Mary J. Blige said on the red carpet.
During last year’s scuffle, Jimmy James Johnson emerged from the audience and punched Dr. Dre, who was sitting at a table in front of the stage, setting off a chair-throwing melee. Johnson was then allegedly stabbed by rapper Young Buck.
Johnson was sentenced in September to a year in jail after he pleaded guilty to punching the rap mogul. Young Buck, whose given name is David Darnell Brown, has pleaded not guilty in the case and is free on bail awaiting trial.
Before the ceremony, rappers decked out in suits and sparkling jewelry smiled wide as they walked the red carpet, showing off the diamonds and gold “grills” in their teeth and the women sported low-cut dresses. Cognac and champagne flowed freely as the stars slipped past cameras and onlookers.
Damian Marley, son of Bob Marley, described the mood as calm. “I hope it remains that way,” said Marley, nominated for two awards.
Good vibes didn’t keep The Game, nominated for multiple awards, from slamming his former collaborator and current nemesis 50 Cent, who didn’t walk the red carpet.
“That’s where the rats crawl in, through the holes,” said The Game, referring to how 50 Cent might have slipped through the back entrance.
It wasn’t immediately known whether 50 Cent would attend.
The Game and 50 Cent were nominated for Best Rapper, up against Kanye West, Ludacris and T.I. Nominees for R&B Voice of the Year included Destiny’s Child, Fantasia, John Legend, Keyshia Cole and Mariah Carey.
The show was being taped and was scheduled to air Tuesday on UPN. It was being hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross from the sitcom “Girlfriends” and Anthony Anderson from “Hustle & Flow.”