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A positive vibe at music awards show

Mariah Carey wins four top honors at a ceremony free of the violence that marred last year's event.

November 14, 2005|Chris Lee | Special to The Times

Pop diva Mariah Carey made a clean sweep at the third annual Vibe Awards in Culver City during an incident-free evening Saturday, collecting trophies in all four categories in which she was nominated.

Carey was named artist of the year and received album of the year honors for her "The Emancipation of Mimi" album, which has sold more than 3.7 million copies in the U.S., making it one of the biggest hits of 2005. The Vibe magazine-sponsored awards added to a remarkable comeback less than a year after the singer's career appeared to be in its death spiral.

It was also a turnaround for the Vibe Awards, which last year was overshadowed by violence.

At the 2004 ceremony, acclaimed hip-hop producer Andre "Dr. Dre" Young was hit in the face by a man in the audience, setting off a chair-heaving brawl. David Darnell Brown -- a.k.a. rapper Young Buck -- was later arrested, accused of stabbing Young's assailant, Jimmy James Johnson, in the chest. Johnson was sentenced to a year in jail in September for his role in the melee, while Brown pleaded not guilty in June and is free on bail awaiting trial.

This year, presenters, performers and nominees had to pass through metal detectors before they entered. Once inside, hosts Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross wasted no time in addressing, with a touch of gallows humor, what was on everyone's minds.

"We're gonna take a stab at making this the most memorable awards show ever," Ross said soon after taking the stage.

"Let's just slap away any negative memories of the past," Anderson added.

Vibe President Kenard Gibbs pointed out that last year's violence had come from within the urban music recording community. With memories still fresh of rapper Kanye West's party after the MTV Video Music Awards in August, during which rap impresario Marion "Suge" Knight was shot in the leg, Gibbs said organizers of this year's Vibe Awards took extra steps to make sure artists and their entourages would remain on their best behavior.

"You remember last year, it wasn't the general public that was the source of any disruption," he said. "We talked to our [record] label partners about the kind of conduct that we expected from the artists that were participating. They understood and agreed."

On accepting her awards, Carey said the lesson in her example is, "whatever you are going through in life, don't give up."

In addition, 14 other trophies were handed out to winners including rapper the Game, Bob Marley's son Damian Marley, the Diplomats, rapper TI and singer Mary J. Blige, recipient of this year's Vibe Legend award.

"I thought people got legend awards when they were like 60," she said. "I'm very happy."

Before the show, rapper Paul Wall summed up the mood of most of the attendees.

"You can't look at the negative of last year," he said. "This is a new year. It's a good time."

The ceremony, where Vibe celebrates "genre-expanding work in urban music," was taped for telecast Tuesday at 8 p.m. on UPN.

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