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LL COOL J and GABRIELLE UNION Personify Style as Sexy Duo Hosts BET's Spring Fashion and Music Extravaganza RIP THE RUNWAY

* BET Premiere - Thursday, March 23 @ 9 P.M. ET/PT *

NEW YORK, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, March 23, BET will premiere RIP THE RUNWAY hosted by hip-hop impresario, actor and new clothing designer, LL COOL J, one of Hollywood's most stunning leading ladies, GABRIELLE UNION, and funny man KATT WILLIAMS. From the "Fashion Capitol of the World" New York City, television's best-dressed hour features urban, high-end, plus size, sports and swimwear collections from designers: Brand Jordan, Todd Smith, G-Unit, Enyce, Stephen Burrows, Bathhouse by Bernard Moore, Roger Gary presents Aqua Couture, Qristy Designs, Monif C., Courtney Washington, Steve Harvey and even the latest dental line "grillz" from Paul Wall. Tune in to catch the latest fashion trends; R&B songstress Mya; pro football headliner Terrell Owens; supermodel Omahyra; America's Next Top Model discovery Toccara; and BET's own, Big Tigger and Julissa as they strut their stuff on one of the hottest runways this season.

"Of course, it wouldn't be a BET special without the hottest artists in the industry making their mark," said Stephen G. Hill, BET's Executive Vice President of Programming.

The "King of the South," T.I. kicked things off and took center stage as Brand Jordan displayed their collection, featuring celebrity models, Big Tigger, Terrell Owens and Mya as they swaggered their way down the catwalk. Mobb Deep, Christina Milian, Busta Rhymes, Ne-Yo and Oscar winners, Three 6 Mafia all put it down and had the audience and the models going wild. One of the main highlights of the evening was Anthony Hamilton serenading the plus size models with his single "Sista Big Bones," as Qristy Designs, Monif C., and Courtney Washington showcased their beautiful collection. Former America's Next Top Model contestant Toccarra said she was excited to take part in a special new designer segment featuring clothes for the larger woman. "Last year, they didn't have any plus-size models and I am so happy [BET] opened its mind and eyes and realized that beauty comes in all sizes and I think we are proving that tonight," she said. "I'm excited because the big girls are doing their thing."

"As a step up from last year, we wanted to define style on an individual level," said Lynne Harris Taylor, BET's Vice President of Specials. "Adding the plus size lines, Stephen Burrows' Couture line and Paul Walls new Grillz was just what we needed to complete the spectrum."

Designer Stephen Burrows added a touch of couture to the evening with his sophisticated collection of soft, beautiful chiffon evening gowns. Burrows was the first African-American designer to achieve international acclaim.

RIP THE RUNWAY isn't your typical fashion special; "bling" also took center stage as Paul Wall debuted his custom diamond-encrusted grillz collection, modeled by several smiling celebrities.

Mississippi rapper David Banner, a trendsetter in his own right, was also among the guests who stopped through to check out the fashions that hit the runway. "I just came out to show my support for BET. They've given me best dressed honors a few times and I just felt it was important to be here," he said.

BET will televise RIP THE RUNWAY on Thursday, March 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. RIP THE RUNWAY is co-produced by Cossette Productions, acclaimed producers of the Grammy Awards along with the BET AWARDS and BET WALK OF FAME.


Cossette Productions is Hollywood's most unique and comprehensive production company, with more than 35 years of experience offering diverse and creative consultation, direction and execution of entertainment production. To its credit, Cossette Productions has produced 32 years of the Grammy Awards telecast; eight weekly television series totaling more than 500 episodes; numerous award-winning Broadway theatrical plays and musicals; 50 major performance specials, award shows and celebrity tributes; corporate events for the nation's largest companies; and countless made-for-television motion pictures and mini-series.


BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; and BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video content for wireless devices.


Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Marcy Polanco, +1-212-975-4048, Marcy.Polanco@BET.net, or
Tricia N. Newell, +1-212-975-8230, Tricia.Newell@BET.net, both of BET

Web site: http://www.bet.com/

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