Stephen M. Silverman
June 29, 2005 08:00 AM

Tuesday night’s fifth annual BET Awards ceremony was almost more notable for its no-shows – eight, including top honoree Kanye West – than for who did appear, though there was still plenty of star power in evidence.

Will Smith, hosting the event at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre with wife Jada Pinkett Smith, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage, The Fugees got together again and Destiny’s Child – despite their pending split this fall – claimed their best group award, reports the Associated Press.

West won for male hip-hop artist and video of the year for his “Jesus Walks.”

Among others who appeared, female R&B artist winner Alicia Keys hoisted her award toward the audience and declared: “This is for all my people who are really trying to dream big dreams.”

In a surprise appearance, The Fugees, who haven’t recorded an album together since 1996’s The Score and haven’t even been on speaking terms in recent years, opened the show, performing “Ready Or Not” and putting a reggae spin on “Fu-Gee-La.”

“If you want another Fugee album, let me see your hands in the air right now,” Wyclef Jean said after climbing into the crowd.

Lauryn Hill, who had largely dropped out of view since her 2002 live album, got off to a rocky start, explaining at one point, “We got a little overzealous in rehearsal.” Fortunately, her voice returned in time for a rendition of “Killing Me Softly.”

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