Rhythm & Blues Foundation Announces Pioneer Awards Co-Hosts Music Legends Dionne Warwick, Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Butler

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Music legends Dionne Warwick, Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Butler will co-host the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's star-studded 20th Anniversary Pioneer Awards gala. The event, to be held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on September 9, 2008, will pay homage to Chaka Khan with the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Bill Withers, Teena Marie, and singer-songwriter Sugar Pie DeSanto will receive the Foundation's Individual Artist Award; The Whispers and Kool & the Gang will receive the Foundation's Group Artists Award; Motown session players the Funk Brothers will receive the Foundation's Sidemen Award; Soul legend Donny Hathaway will posthumously receive a Legacy Award in recognition of his influential output in the 1970s; and Al Bell, former president of two renowned record labels, Stax Records and Motown Records, will be given the Ahmet Ertegun Leadership Award.

As an ardent supporter of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, I am proud of this year's Pioneer Awards list of honorees. And our co-hosts this year add immeasurable class to the proceedings. I believe this year's event will go down as one of the best in its 20-year history.

Music legends Dionne Warwick, Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Butler will co-host the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's star-studded 20th Anniversary Pioneer Awards gala. The event, to be held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on September 9, 2008, will pay homage to Chaka Khan with the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition, Bill Withers, Teena Marie, and singer-songwriter Sugar Pie DeSanto will receive the Foundation's Individual Artist Award; The Whispers and Kool & the Gang will receive the Foundation's Group Artists Award; Motown session players the Funk Brothers will receive the Foundation's Sidemen Award; Soul legend Donny Hathaway will posthumously receive a Legacy Award in recognition of his influential output in the 1970s; and Al Bell, former president of two renowned record labels, Stax Records and Motown Records, will be given the Ahmet Ertegun Leadership Award.

Warwick, Butler, and Raitt have deep ties to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and in recognition of the importance of the Foundation's mission and their 20th anniversary, they have graciously given their time to co-host the Pioneer Awards show. Bonnie Raitt, one of the top slide guitarists and singers, as well as a 9-time Grammy Award winner, is a Co-Founder of the Foundation. Jerry Butler, an original member of soul group The Impressions and a highly successful R&B/Pop solo artist, served as Chairman of the Foundation for many years, and is now Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation as well as a past Pioneer Award honoree. Dionne Warwick, a 5-time Grammy winner, has served as a Director of the Foundation, and received the Foundation's coveted Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

The 2008 Pioneer Awards Event Co-Chairs Octavius "Ted" Reid III, Sr. Vice President/Wealth Advisor in the Global Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley, and Judy Tint, entertainment attorney and consultant in New York City, both long-time members of the Board of Directors of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, expressed their enthusiasm about the Pioneer Awards and the participation of this year's co-hosts. Reid commented, "As an ardent supporter of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, I am proud of this year's Pioneer Awards list of honorees. And our co-hosts this year add immeasurable class to the proceedings. I believe this year's event will go down as one of the best in its 20-year history."

Tint added, "Our honorees, co-hosts and presenters represent rhythm and blues at its finest. The R&B Foundation has supported musicians in need and provided professional opportunities to artists who are still at the top of their game. The Pioneer Awards is a show like none other, honoring our legends and celebrating the rich past of R&B while looking toward its future. This year's event promises to be the most amazing 'family reunion' of all...wear your dancing shoes."

Patricia Wilson Aden, Executive of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, commented on the Foundation's 20th anniversary: "Over the years', the active support Jerry Butler, Dionne Warwick and Bonnie Raitt has been enormously beneficial to the work of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Its only fitting that they serve as co-hosts as we celebrate our accomplishments over the past twenty years and prepare to meet the challenges that will come in the next twenty years.

For more information about the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and to purchase tickets for the 2008 Pioneer Awards, please visit http://www.rhythmblues.org or call 215-568-1080.

Media contact and press credentials requests: Jalila Larsuel of JL Media Relations, JLMediapr @ aol.com, 626.398.5028 office or 213.369.4362.

*Photos are available at http://www.rhythmblues.org (See Media contact and press credentials requests: Jalila Larsuel of JL Media Relations, JLMediapr @ aol.com, 626.398.5028 office or 213.369.4362.

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