Now that's one way to kick off the 2013 BET Awards on a stylish note! This weekend, stars including Ashanti, NeNe Leakes and Jordin Sparks gathered at Milk Studios in Los Angeles to gear up for this year's ceremony. Hosted by Debra L. Lee, the chairman and CEO of BET networks, guests mingled during the cocktail hour before settling into the elegant formal dining room, where the iconic Sheila E. took the stage for a surprise performance. Sparks in particular was excited, as it was her first time to attend the party. "Yes, I'm a newbie! I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited," she told us before heading inside. "I have to make sure I have a hair tie, because my hair will be curly by the end of the night if I'm dancing." And there was definitely dancing! Click the photo to see more from inside the party.
— Andrea Simpson