Elsewhere, Nicki Minaj was named Best Female Hip-Hop Artist for the third year running.
Accepting her award, she said: ''I really, really appreciate BET for keeping this category alive, and I appreciate all the female rappers doing their thing, past, present and future.''
She said: ''I miss my friend. I miss hearing her voice and laughter, but we'll always have the music. We'll always have that voice we fell in love with, she inspired us all, we'll always have my friend Whitney Houston.''
Singer Monica performed Whitney's 'I Love The Lord', followed by Brandy who sung 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' followed by 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'.
Whitney's brother Gary then sang 'Where You Are', followed by her mother Cissy, who performed 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', which received a standing ovation.
Bet Awards 2012, full list of winners:
Best Group: Kanye West and Jay-Z
Best Actor: Kevin Hart
Best New Artist: Big Sean
Best Male R&B artist: Chris Brown
Best Gospel: Yolanda Adams
Best Female R&B Artist: Beyonce
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
Video of the Year: Jay-Z and Kanye West, 'Otis'
Lifetime Achievement: Frankie Beverly featuring Maze
Humanitarian Award: Rev. Al Sharpton
Viewer's Choice Award: Mindless Behavior
Video Director of the Year: Beyonce and Alan Ferguson
Fandemonium Award: Chris Brown
Centric Award: Common
Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
Sportsman of the Year: Kevin Durant
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