Newcomers Jill Scott and Carl Thomas join R&B veterans D'Angelo and R. Kelly to lead the field of nominees for the 15th Annual Soul Train Music Awards with three nods apiece, organizers announced Tuesday.
D'Angelo, Scott, and Kelly are also contenders for prizes at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, to be held on Feb. 21, but Thomas, who released his debut, Emotional, in April, was overlooked by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (which runs the Grammys), in favor of popular singers such as Sisqo — who got one Soul Train nod — and Joe — who received zero.
The awards, a spinoff from the popular urban music television showcase Soul Train, will be taped on Feb. 28 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air in syndication beginning March 3. Performers will be announced closer to the event.
Four artists picked up two nominations each: controversial rapper Eminem, the only white nominee on the list; sibling duo Mary, Mary; supergroup trio Lucy Pearl; and male quartet Jagged Edge.
Soul Train executive producer Don Cornelius told Reuters at the nominations party he would welcome Eminem at his show "if he's available and he's interested and he respects our system."
The 28-year-old Detroit rapper has spurned the Grammys, though the organization continues to honor him — over the protests of religious, gay, lesbian, and women's groups. Cornelius, who said he was not sure about Eminem's stance on the Soul Train Awards, defended his lyrics, saying, "If gays are damaged, let's call in everybody who gets damaged by a rap artist, from the government to Orientals, to the celebration of the word 'nigger,' constantly."
Eminem's Soul Train nominations are for the R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year and Best Music Video prizes. He will compete against R. Kelly in the former category and D'Angelo in the latter.
D'Angelo, Kelly, and Thomas will compete against each other in the R&B/Soul Single (male) and R&B/Soul Album (male) categories. Scott was nominated for the corresponding female prizes. Both Thomas and Scott will vie for the R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist award.
Also competing for Album of the Year honors are Eminem's mentor, Dr. Dre, and rapper Jay-Z.
The Soul Train Awards are determined by radio station program directors, retail personnel, and active recording artists.
Reuters contributed to this report.