In news Rolling Stone is calling “the biggest surprise” of the BET Award nominations, Justin Bieber is in the mix for Best New Artist. Bieber will face off with Young Money, Wale, Melanie Fiona and Nicki Minaj for the prize.

Bieber’s nomination is a curiosity coming from Black Entertainment Television, a network whose awards tend to recognize black performers like Jay-Z and Beyonce, who scored five and four nominations, respectively.

He makes the type of music our audience likes,” said Stephen Hill, BET’s President of Music Programing and Specials. “Bieber has crossed the color boundaries the same way that hip-hop has crossed the boundaries the other way for a number of years.”

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This afternoon, Bieber addressed the nominations via Twitter:

Bieber’s connections to R&B and hip-hop are clear — his biggest celebrity proponent and mentor has long been Usher, and the Biebs joined Akon, Ludacris, Usher and Kelly Rowland for a performance last week.

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