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The BET Awards were established in 2001 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate African Americans and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. The awards are presented annually, and are broadcast live on BET. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by artists, and some of the awards of more popular interest are presented in a televised ceremony.
The BET Award Trophy, inspired by three words - aspire, ascend, achieve, was designed by artist/sculptor Carlos "Mare139" Rodriguez. OutKast won the first award trophy during the first ceremony in 2001. In 2007, Society Awards, the New York firm who manufacturers the award, enhanced the quality of the trophy design using plated steel and black crystal.
The inaugural ceremony in 2001 was held at the Paris resort on the Las Vegas Strip. From 2002 to 2005, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood hosted the awards. From 2006 to 2012, the ceremonires have been held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The ceremony was moved to the Microsoft Theatre at L.A. Live in 2013.