Mensa was among the stars who took part in the ceremony's traditional rap cyphers, pre-recorded freestyle segments which typically feature different hip-hop crews, and the performances were played for audience members attending the Sunday night (October 07) event in Miami, Florida.
Fans won't get to view the show until the prizegiving airs in the U.S. next week (begins October 15), but Mensa made waves online after calling out XXXTENTACION as an abuser in one of his verses.
XXXTENTACION's brother and collaborator DJ Scheme made his feelings clear in a post on social media, claiming viewers would be "f**king disgusted" by the freestyle, but Mensa is now defending his lyrics, insisting he will never stand for violence against women.
He took to Instagram on Monday night to explain his stance to fans in a video message, and while he doesn't regret his choice of words, he does feel bad for XXXTENTACION's mother, Cleopatra Bernard, who was in the crowd at the BET Hip-Hop Awards to accept the Best New Artist prize on her son's behalf.
"Recently I did a freestyle for the BET Awards cypher addressing and condemning rappers who unabashedly abuse women, and those who stand up for them, and even call them legends," he said. "I stand behind those statements."
"It was pre-recorded weeks ago and I had no idea a grieving mother would be in the audience to honour her lost son," Mensa continued. "I never intended to disrespect her, and I offer my deepest condolences for her loss at the hands of gun violence. However, I vehemently reject the trend in hip-hop of championing abusers, and I will not hold my tongue about it."
He also dismissed suggestions that he was simply trying to grab headlines with the criticism, adding, "I don't give a f**k about getting attention. I care about bringing awareness and holding people accountable for their actions."
XXXTENTACION, real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was shot dead in a suspected armed robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida in June.
At the time of his passing, the 20 year old had been awaiting trial amid allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in 2016, when she was pregnant. He was also charged with witness tampering and harassment after allegedly convincing the woman not to testify against him.