“Black excellence,” the running theme of the BET Honors, was on full display Saturday evening at the Warner Theater here, where the network filmed its annual homage to African-American luminaries in art, music, theater, technology and business. The singer Fantasia Barrino threatened to kick off her shoes during a soulful tribute to Patti LaBelle, one of the night’s honorees for her musical work; the crowd roared with applause after Melissa Harris-Perry, the former MSNBC weekend morning host, presented the public service award to Eric H. Holder Jr., the first black attorney general, who was selected by the first black president; and more than $100,000 in ticket proceeds was raised for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative started by President Obama that aims to help disadvantaged boys and young men of color. “Ultimately, BET is home for us,” Kyemah McEntyre, a teenage fashion designer whose Instagram post of her African-themed prom dress went viral last year, said in an interview. She was one of this year’s “Next in Class” — a group BET highlights as representing the next generation of “black excellence.” “It’s amazing to be able to go to a place specifically for you, and where you get to see some positivity,” she said. In addition to Ms. LaBelle and Mr. Holder, the honorees included Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and board chairman for DreamWorks Animation, who received the corporate citizens award; L. A. Reid, the chairman and chief executive of Epic Records, who was given the entertainment business award; and Lee Daniels, the filmmaker and co-creator of the show “Empire,” who was recognized for his television and film work. They were each honored with a statue and a tribute from someone whose career had been touched by his or her achievements. For Mr. Reid, that included a performance by Usher, who said that the executive was important “for black culture, for music, for entrepreneurship in the South.” For Mr. Daniels, it was a rendition of “Man in the Mirror” by Jussie Smollett, who on “Empire” plays Jamal Lyon, a gay character inspired by Mr. Daniels’s own background. Mr. Smollett’s performance also included images of protesters holding up signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “End Racism.” The show, which will be shown on March 14, was taped a week after the Academy Awards, which had come under fire for a lack of black nominees in the acting categories. The former talk show host Arsenio Hall, who hosted the BET Honors show, talked about why it was special for black viewers. When the Temptations song “Just My Imagination” started playing during a brief production break, it seemed as if nearly all the audience members sang along. “You don’t hear that at the Oscars,” Mr. Hall said.