When Billboard's seventh annual R&B/Hip-Hop Conference and Awards returns to Atlanta (Sept. 6-8 at the Renaissance Waverly), among the event's special honorees will be Etta James.

When Billboard's seventh annual R&B/Hip-Hop Conference and Awards returns to Atlanta (Sept. 6-8 at the Renaissance Waverly), among the event's special honorees will be Etta James. The Grammy Award-winning legend is the 2006 recipient of the R&B Founders Award.

Celebrating five decades as a recording artist, James joins previous R&B Founders honorees the Isley Brothers, Betty Wright, Isaac Hayes and Chaka Khan. James is a soul survivor in the truest sense, having overcome drug addiction, financial pitfalls and obesity. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member is part of a select group of R&B pioneers, including B.B. King and Ronald Isley, who are still actively recording and touring. Her latest album, "All the Way," was released in March.

A Hip-Hop Founders designate will be announced shortly. Both awards were established to honor the legacies of pioneering artists in R&B and hip-hop whose influence still carries a major impact on today's black music. James and the hip-hop honoree will formally accept their statuettes Sept. 8 during the awards show that caps the three-day conference.

For more information on the R&B/Hip-Hop Conference and other Billboard events, go to BillboardEvents.com.

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