chris_brown.jpgLOS ANGELES (AP) _ The BET Awards buzz has begun.

With the city poised to serve as Party Central right through Tuesday's awards show, things were already humming around town as early as Sunday.

At downtown's Shrine Auditorium, piles of rolled red carpet stood beside stacks of sound gear while workers bustled outside and Chris Brown, Ciara and Ne-Yo rehearsed inside.

A glitzy gift suite was stocked with watches, sneakers, bejeweled belts and blinged-out iPhone cases that awaited the arrival of A-listers.

Meanwhile, across town in West Hollywood, songwriters and producers gathered at Murano restaurant for the BMI Black Music Month brunch. Rapper Rick Ross, producer Sean Garrett and actress Regina King were among the guests who sipped champagne in honor of the artists behind the music.

Garrett gave credit to Black Entertainment Television for honoring all aspects of entertainment.

“I'm proud of BET,'' said the producer, who has worked with Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. “BET always gives a sense of where urban is at the moment and how they're trying to grow.''

Awards-related festivities were set to continue Sunday night with a party in honor of Lil Wayne and Usher and a dinner celebrating Nelly. More events were scheduled for Monday, including a private dinner hosted by BET chief Debra Lee that was to feature a performance by Jill Scott.

The BET Awards will be broadcast live Tuesday from the Shrine Auditorium at 8 p.m. EDT.


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Pictured above is recording artist Chris Brown.