This Independence Day weekend marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most beloved and celebrated events in black music (not to mention the hottest ticket in town): the Essence Festival!
Kicking off in New Orleans on July 3rd, the Essence Festival (formerly called the Essence Music Festival) promises performances from some of the biggest black stars and icons in the business: Nas, Prince, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The Roots, Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Tamar Braxton, Trey Songz, Michelle Williams, Naughty By Nature, Kelly Price, Elle Varner, Jazmine Sullivan and many others!
This star-studded event is complemented by several high-profile speakers. As an advocate for nonprofit organization Greater Than AIDS, Alicia Keys will headline a special ESSENCE Empowerment Experience panel including Black Girls Rock!, hip-hop pioneer Beverly Bond, Congressman Maxine Waters, spiritual life coach (and Oprah’s go-to guru) Iyanla Vanzant, beloved actress Nia long, political referee Reverend Al Sharpton, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, comedian and conglomerate Steve Harvey, world renowned pastor and multimedia mogul Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Bush.
The Essence Music Festival is birthed from its famous originator, Essence Magazine, which has been the go-to publication for black women ever since its launch in 1970. At that time there were hardly any representations of black women in the media (much less any positive ones)! Under the spiritual editorship of veteran Susan L. Taylor, Essence rebuilt the image of black women by uniquely presenting them on their own terms, in their own voice, on their own glossy pages. The rest is history. Essence became the spiritual, cultural and beauty bestie of millions of African-American women across the nation, and in the process it revolutionized the majority-white magazine industry.
The Essence Festival is now the nation’s largest annual gathering of African-American musical talent, usually attracting more than 400,000 people a year. With all the iconic honorees, cultural celebrations, empowerment seminars, fabulous fashions and star-studded performances, the next few nights in New Orleans are going to be ones to remember.
To get tickets, please visit the Essence Festival website.