R&B Beat: Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Kirk Franklin ...

Soul greats set for Pioneer Awards; disabled singer forms charity for spinal-cord injury victims; gospel star on 'Live With Regis.'

The Rhythm & Blues Foundation has announced the list of presenters for its Pioneer Awards, to be presented Sept. 6 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, Gerald Levert and former Supremes singer Mary Wilson are among those doing the honors at the awards, which will be hosted by Smokey Robinson. ...

Singer Teddy Pendergrass has formed the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a charitable organization to help people with spinal-cord injuries. Pendergrass has been in a wheelchair since a 1982 auto accident that injured his spinal cord. The organization will hold a gala Oct. 14 that will be co-chaired by Pendergrass and singer/songwriters Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. ...

Gospel star Kirk Franklin and his One Nation Crew will perform "Nobody" on the "Live With Regis" show Thursday (Aug. 17). The track is from Kirk Franklin Presents One Nation Crew, which came out Tuesday (Aug. 15). ...

Lou Rawls will star in "Me & Mrs. Jones," a stage musical based on the true story and hit song about a woman's affair with a judge, according to the Associated Press. Rehearsals will start this month in Los Angeles, and the show will start a national tour in the spring, the wire service reported. ...

A person who can convincingly impersonate sexy R&B singer Ginuwine has swindled some radio stations by persuading them to pay him to perform at bogus concerts, according to MTV News Online. Epic Records and the crooner — who is busy prepping for a film role in "Juwanna Man" and recording his third LP — urge radio stations, venues and promoters to contact police if they are approached by the faux Ginuwine. ...

EMI division Virgin America has entered into a $15 million joint venture with Blackground Records to strengthen its urban music catalog, according to the Los Angeles Times. The label is home to recording artists Aaliyah and Timbaland. ...

Rhino Records will release the four-CD box set Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance on Nov. 7. The set compiles music from Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, among others, and it includes readings by several contemporary artists, including Quincy Jones, Joshua Redman, Ice-T and Coolio. ...

Jagged Edge's "Let's Get Married," Will Smith's "Freakin' It," Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and Splender's "I Think God Can Explain" are a few of the 17 songs featured on Platinum Hits 2000, a collection due Sept. 5, according to Columbia Records. Other artists on the compilation disc are Destiny's Child, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Son by Four and Savage Garden. ...

One of James Brown's former backup singers has sued him for sexual harassment, according to the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. Lisa Rushton filed the suit, which accuses Brown of demanding sex and then retaliating when she refused, Aug. 4 in Richmond County Superior Court. ...

Soul group Earth, Wind & Fire are recording an album that will feature appearances by rappers Wyclef Jean and the Roots, as well as four tracks with singer Eric Benét. The group, which also appears on Wyclef's upcoming album, hopes to have the album out early next year, according to their publicist, Rick Scott. ...

James Brown's personal bodyguard, Richard Glenn, was indicted Aug. 8 on charges of arson and forgery in connection with the April blaze that destroyed Brown's office building in Augusta, Ga. Glenn, 39, who was arrested in May, is accused of stealing a $75,000 check made out to Brown and then setting the fire to destroy evidence. Glenn's father is the R&B legend's first cousin ...

Bassist Tommy Sims, whose résumé includes work with Blackstreet, Mariah Carey and the Neville Brothers, among others, has just released his debut solo album, Peace and Love. The R&B album features a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder and "New Jam," a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Bobby Womack. ...

Wednesday's birthdays (Aug. 16): Barbara George, 58; James "J.T." Taylor (Kool & the Gang), 47; MC Remedee (Cookie Crew), 33; and LL Cool J, 32.

— sonicnet.com staff report