R&B Beat: Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Gerald Levert ...

Erykah Badu on Essence Awards; Lucy Pearl club tour underway; Donell Jones on 'Shaft' soundtrack.

You can check out this year's Essence Awards on TV or the Web on Thursday. The awards, taped April 14 and featuring performances by Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Gerald Levert, Rah Digga and Christina Aguilera, will air on the Fox TV network and in an expanded version on www.essence.com. ...

R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl kicked off a nine-city club tour Sunday at SOB's in New York. They'll also play at the NBA Store in New York on Monday, a day before the release of their self-titled debut album. .. The soundtrack to the remake of the 1971 movie "Shaft" will include new tracks from Donell Jones, Angie Stone, Outkast and Too Short, in addition to a new version of Isaac Hayes' "Theme from 'Shaft.' " The album comes out June 13. ...

Vocal trio En Vogue will be on NBC-TV's "Tonight Show" on Monday. They'll perform "Riddle," the first single from their album Masterpiece Theater, due Tuesday. ...

Rappers Jay-Z, Redman, Method Man, DMX, Foxy Brown and Eve will be joined by R&B stars Sisqó, Montell Jordan, Janet Jackson, Brian McKnight, Case and R. Kelly on the sequel to the multiplatinum 1996 soundtrack "The Nutty Professor." "The Nutty Professor II" soundtrack boasts production from Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Rocwilder, Timbaland and Tim and Bob. The album will be released in early July, according to Zuhairah Khaldun at Def Jam Records. ...

R&B singer Eric Benét showed up on "Beverly Hills 90210" on Wednesday (May 17). He sang his song "Spend My Life With You" at the character Donna's (Tori Spelling) wedding. ...

The late Marvin Gaye's 1982 album, Midnight Love, featuring the hit "Sexual Healing," will be re-released May 30 by the Sony Legacy label. The label is also re-releasing Earth, Wind & Fire's 1988 collection, The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire, Vol. II and The O'Jays' 1975 Survival album. ... The Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy will honor R&B singer Brandy with their 2000 Governor's Award. The singer/actress, whose most recent album was 1998's Never Say Never, will receive the award at a luncheon June 15. ...

Janet Jackson will join rapper (and actor) Ice Cube as a presenter at this year's MTV Movie Awards on June 3. Jackson stars in this summer's "The Nutty Professor II" with comedy actor (and occasional recording artist) Eddie Murphy. ... R&B diva Mariah Carey has enlisted producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to supervise the soundtrack to her upcoming film project, "All That Glitters." Carey starts shooting the film this summer. ...

Rappers Talib Kweli, De la Soul and Spooks will join R&B singers Dwayne Wiggins, Mary Mary and Sean Paul at the Fourth Annual Urban Focus Music Conference from June 24–25 at the University of Southern California. Avant, Ametria and Boomshaka also will perform at the outdoor concert. ...

"What's Really Going On" singer Wiggins will be among the performers at a series of "True Talent" search competitions this summer. Rappers Beanie Sigel and Drag-On will perform at the contest, which will reward winners with cash prizes and demo deals with Def Jam and FarmClub.com. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report