It almost the most wonderful time of the year again — and no, we aren’t talking about Christmas. Like the magazine has done for the past 25 years, ESSENCE will be bringing its annual ESSENCE Festival of Culture to New Orleans this Fourth of July holiday weekend to rock the Big Easy like only they know how. And they’ve got a whole lot of star power this year with two of the biggest names in music headlining the festivities: Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars.
As we speculated when Miss Jackson made her Black Diamond album and world tour announcement, our queen will be sparkling front and center during the big weekend and Bruno will also be along to give the people what they like. They won’t be doing it alone, though, as a bevy of superstars will also be in the number. Janelle Monáe, Patti LaBelle, Raphael Saadiq, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox and two presentations curated by Estelle and Swizz Beats, respectively, will also be rocking the mainstage. Even more stars — including Jidenna, Tamia, Rapsody, SiR, GoldLink, Leikeli47 and Masego — will be taking over the superlounges to keep the party going well into the wee hours.
In addition to the music, the festival will also include the usual conferences, exhibitions and other events that we’ve all come to expect from the event. However, there’s much, much more fun to be had at the festival this year as it expands from three to five days for the first time in its history to mark the 50th anniversary of ESSENCE. That means there’s sure to be even more surprises and celebrations in store for festival-goers. To that effect, we suggest you hurry up and buy weekend passes, which start at $186, from the festival’s website to make sure you’re part of the excitement.