NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The 2019 Essence Festival will feature headlining performances by Mary J. Blige and rappers NAS, Pharrell, Jermaine Dupri and Missy Elliott as Essence Magazine's "party with a purpose" turns 25 this year.
Festival producers announced a partial lineup Monday, listing more than 80 artists for the event held during the July Fourth weekend in New Orleans, hosted by comedienne and talk show host Loni Love. Also on the lineup are Anthony Hamilton, H.E.R., Ledisi, MC Lyte, Morris Day, Musiq Soulchild, Sheila E., Teddy Riley, Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, Timbaland, Luke James, Big Freedia and Grammy winning New Orleans native PJ Morton.
Producers said there also will be a special mainstage moment honoring Frankie Beverly for his lifetime contribution to music and special performance highlights spotlighting Blige's "My Life" and NAS' "Illmatic" — seminal albums marking 25-year anniversaries in 2019.
Others scheduled to participate are 702, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Brownstone, El Debarge, Elle Varner, Force MDs, Ginuwine, Jacquees, Mase, Normani, Rakim, Scarface, City Girls and more performers who will be announced later.
"When the ESSENCE Festival was founded 25 years ago, it marked a pivotal moment of vision and reverence — a critical acknowledgement of and investment in the power of our culture," said Michelle Ebanks, chief executive officer of ESSENCE Communications, in a news release. She said it has set a standard that other festivals aspire to, and has become an annual homecoming for black artists from around the world.
The festival is scheduled July 4-7, with the three-night concert series in the Superdome and free workshops and opportunities to interact with artists in the city's convention center.
Ticket packages are now on sale. Visit www.essence.com/festival for more details.