*As soon as Queen Latifah announced that Justin Bieber was nominated for a BET Award in the category of Best New Artist, the blogosphere lit up with commentary – both for and against the inclusion of the white teen phenomenon.

Coming to his defense yesterday was none other than Sean “Diddy” Combs.

“The awards are important to hip-hop and to show (hip-hop artists) in the right light,” he said, according to WENN. “But the beauty of BET is, if Justin Bieber’s hot, then he deserves to be on that stage. Sometimes, at other award shows, the color of your skin or the type of music you make takes away from getting the accolade you deserve.”

Bieber – who will compete in the category against Wale, Melanie Fiona, Nicki Minaj and Young Money – sent a series of tweets expressing his appreciation for the nomination.

“Thank u to BET for nominating me for Best New Artist @ the BET Awards this year!! This is an incredible honor and I’m very grateful,” he tweeted. “… Read some articles about my bet nomination n i think this goes 2 show that music is color blind… Music is the universal language no matter the country we are born in or the color of our skin. Brings us all together.”

Queen Latifah will host the 2010 BET Awards ceremony, which will take place on June 27 and broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.