BET Awards red carpet 2012: Fashion highlights featuring the best and worst-dressed African-American stars

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The BET Awards red carpet for 2012 featured looks that likely aroused an array of reactions, ranging from pleased “aaaahs” all the way to horror-filled gasps. As is typical with award ceremonies that are linked with the music industry, the BET Awards red carpet was a more casual affair than one would find at a night like the Oscars, with black stars wearing anything and everything, from barely there dresses to men’s tailored shirts with beaded elements.

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Well-dressed stars such as Kerry Washington went the edgy-yet-understated route. Her two-toned, bustier-topped cocktail dress contrasted sharply with LaLa Anthony’s sparkling purple jump suit. The usually classically-dressed wife of NBA baller Carmelo Anthony went wild for the evening, as did many other women including Brandy, who exposed every inch of her long legs.

Some celebrities, like LeToya Luckett, didn’t get the memo dictating casual creativity and opted for floor-sweeping gowns that — especially considering the heat — would have been much more appropriate for a winter awards show. Older stars like Lela Rochon and Chaka Khan seemed to prefer the more traditional “awards” look as well.

Actor Jamie Foxx, who co-stars with Washington in the coming film Django Unchained, simply wore a red t-shirt featuring a chilling image of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen whose killing sparked a national controversy over racial profiling and gun laws. Other high-profile male celebrities, such as Genuine, Tyga, and Joung Jeezy, seemed to dress on cue in a similar style that mixed hip-hop with a splash of the dapper gentleman aesthetic known as “urban prep,” layering tailored jackets with their chains while pairing snug jeans and fashion sneakers.

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Jermaine Dupri made an unusual style statement in an old-fashioned straw hat that matched his red, white and blue outfit. While fitting for summer, was he a little too excited for the coming fourth of July holiday? Perhaps.

Despite his fashion faux pas, perhaps Beyonce deserves the “worst dressed” label for the evening. “Beyonce… wore a one-sleeved Stephane Rolland gown in a too-shiny golden yellow with a clunky gold metal belt,” reports The Star-Ledger about her unfortunate ensemble. “The gown was slit up one side, with an embarrassment of fabric on the other — so much so that Beyonce didn’t seem to know what to do with when she went on stage to accept the award for best female R&B artist.” Not a good look, apparently, although other outlets consider her to be the best-dressed.

Others vying in that contentious category included Monica in her deep plum, body-hugging suit and Nikki Minaj, who worked bootylicious leggings. Meagan Good also made quite the splash in a cleavage-bearing white gown.

But perhaps the biggest style star of the night was Willow Smith, whose video debut for her song “I Am Me” and punk-inspired red carpet attire set the media world buzzing. Willow was deemed, “a budding fashionista and singer at just 11-years-old” by the Daily News for her cut-up t-shirt and ripped leggings. Celebrity-Gossip.net praised Smith for her “adorableness.” The Twitterverse responded as well, stirring a ton of controversy over her androgynous appearance.

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Willow Smith certainly made a ton of impact for being such small girl wearing impeccably simple clothes. She definitely deserves major style points for that.

 Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.