Erykah Badu Returns as 2017 Soul Train Awards Honor Industry Legends and Newcomers

Solange Knowles and Bruno Mars have soul. At least, BET thinks so.

The network has announced nominations for the BET Presents: 2017 Soul Train Awards, an annual ceremony that recognizes the best in soul, R&B and hip-hop music, honing in on artists from the 1970s—or newcomers whose music is evocative of the disco era.

So far, Solange is leading with seven nominations, including video of the year and song of the year for her hit single, Cranes in the Sky.

Bruno Mars follows with six nods, and newcomers, including Khalid and SZA, are up for nominations across several categories.

See the full list of nominees

Singer-songwriter and producer Erykah Badu will host BET’s groovy gala for the third consecutive year. Journalist Kelefa Sanneh deemed Badu “Godmother of Soul” in her 2016 New Yorker profile of the artist.

Erykah Badu shines at BET’s 2016 Soul Train Awards. (Photo: David Becker/Getty Images)

Over the course of her career, she’s spread her creative, eccentric vibe across the Viacom universe—from her guest-starring appearance on Nickelodeon’s All That 1997,where she came on the kids’ comedy show carrying a cup of tea and incense sticks. In 2016, Badu served as music supervisor for Comedy Central’s urban animated series, Legends of Chamberlain Heights. She’s also appeared on BET’s stage many times, including 2015’s Black Girls Rock! special.

The ceremony also recognizes living-legends like Toni Braxton, who will be honored with the coveted Don Cornelius Legend Award.

Take a look at Braxton’s influence on the industry:

And the women of Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum R&B trio SWV (aka Sisters With Voices) are set to take home the third annual Lady of Soul award, which will recognize their industry longevity and influence on gospel, soul and R&B music since 1986.

See the full list of honorees

BET’s Soul Train Awards spawned from Soul Train, a famed variety show that spanned over three decades and was hosted by the late TV personality Don Cornelius (the namesake for Braxton’s award).

Watch a recap of last year’s ceremony:

The New York Times reporter James C. McKinley Jr. credits Cornelius’ show with “spreading the music of black America to the world, offering wide exposure to musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson in the 1970s and ’80s.”

The OG Soul Train. (GIPHY)

BET continues to honor Cornelius’ work by airing the Soul Train Awards and adapting the ceremony to include new artists who meld different genres, including electro-house, funk, hip-hop, rap and gospel.

BET Presents: 2017 Soul Train Awards will air on BET and BET HER Thursday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. Visit the site for more information.

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