Corinne Bailey Rae and Beyonce Knowles led the winners at the Music of Black Origin (Mobo) awards in London, taking five prizes between them.
Knowles won best international female, as well as best song and best video for Deja Vu, performed with fiance Jay-Z.
Leeds singer Bailey Rae, who performed at the Royal Albert Hall ceremony, took two awards, best UK female and the best UK newcomer prize.
Other winners included the Black Eyed Peas, who won best group.
Jay-Z added to his awards tally by winning best international male - but neither he nor Knowles appeared at the ceremony.
There were boos when Knowles' second award - for best international female - was announced, and host Gina Yashere joked that the singer's absence meant she could take the award home herself.
Veteran soul performer Sam Moore - one half of 1960s duo Sam and Dave - did appear at the show to receive a lifetime achievement award, presented by blues performer Steve Winwood.
Moore performed I Can't Stand The Rain with singer Keisha White before closing the show with his hit Soul Man.
Lemar - who won two Mobo awards last year - won the best UK male prize.
The award for the best hip-hop artist was won by Akala, the younger brother of rapper Ms Dynamite, who won three prizes at 2002's ceremony.
Akala was accompanied by his sister and mother at the ceremony.
Mobo favourite Lemar took home the prize for best UK male artist
He said: "I didn't expect this. I know the album did really well but I was the least known in my category."
Akala said of his sister: "Every time she won an award I felt like I'd won an award as well and I think she feels the same for me.
"There's no rivalry or competition at all. She sat next to me tonight and my mother was there too. I'm sure she's really proud."
Sean Paul won the best reggae prize, Barbadian singer Rihanna took the best R&B artist award, and Steve Sutherland was named best DJ.
This year's event saw a shake-up in the prize categories, with awards for jazz and world music dropped.
But Batman Samini won the best African act prize, and Nu Life were named the best gospel act.
Highlights from Wednesday's ceremony will be shown on BBC One on Friday.