Penny, Bee Bee, Cee Cee, Trudy and Oscar have more reason than ever to be proud.
The clan from the animated series "The Proud Family" is about to be visited by some of pop and R&B's biggest stars, including Ashanti, Alicia Keys and Solange Knowles, according to a Disney Channel spokesperson.
Not only does Solange perform the show's theme song with a little help from big sister Beyoncé's Destiny's Child, the 16-year-old up-and-comer will surface in the episode "Behind Family Lines," scheduled to air December 13. Knowles lends her voice to Penny's snotty cousin Chanel, who winds up being the catalyst for a sweeping change of attitude at a chaotic family gathering.
Ashanti, with a relatively lighter itinerary than she had right after releasing her multiplatinum self-titled debut, also found time to tape an episode. In "It Takes a Thief" she portrays a store manager who hires Penny for an after-school job. When some items turn up missing, a moral lesson on shoplifting soon follows. The episode will be part of the show's third season, expected to launch next year.
If the voice of a judge on "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," — a riff on the reality talent show "American Idol" — sounds like it's in A minor, it's because the real-life pipes behind the animated adjudicator belong to ivory-ticklin' B-girl Alicia Keys. Scheduled to tape November 20, Keys' episode will also air next year.
"The Proud Family" chronicles the life of 14-year-old Penny Proud as she copes with her family, friends and school. The show recognized the value of musical guest stars early on when an episode featuring the voice of Lil' Romeo garnered the series' highest ratings.
Rapper/poet/actor Mos Def's cameo precedes the pack when his episode, which finds him in a creative stretch playing himself as the host of a poetry slam, airs Friday.
Contemporary gospel singer Kirk Franklin and R&B pop quintet 3rd Storee are also set to appear in next season episodes.
"The Proud Family" airs Fridays at 7p.m. on the Disney Channel.