Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after a two-year hiatus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the July 4 holiday weekend in New Orleans, as thousands gather in the city for a personal return to the Essence Festival of Culture.

The multiday event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart at the Smoothie King Center, followed by ticketed concerts at the Louisiana Superdome Friday through Sunday. Rapper Nicki Minaj, the first-time headliner, performs with country singer Mickey Guyton, another first-timer, on Friday. Music icon Janet Jackson, who took the stage in 2010 and 2018, is the featured artist on Saturday and the new version of fan favorite, ’80s R&B group, will close the event on Sunday. Other artists who performed include Jazmine Sullivan, City Girls, Summer Walker, The Roots, The Isley Brothers, Method Man, Thames, Patti Labelle and Stephanie Mills.

In addition, Ernest N. A tech summit inside the Morial Convention Center, an opportunity for men called “In His Zone”, a market highlighting local vendors, a food and wine experience, a beauty carnival, and the ever-popular gospel festival.

Organizers encourage all participants – whether in person or virtual – to download the festival’s app and register through In addition, participants are required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in person, even though that requirement was removed by the city in March as the pandemic subsided.

Festival organizers have stated that “vaccination is for the safety of all” and that such proof is required for entry.

The festival, much the city is known for, has been on an individual hiatus since 2020 due to the virus outbreak, but was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. Before that, it was held every year in New Orleans. 2006 when it moved to Houston while the Superdome was being repaired after Hurricane Katrina.

This year’s theme is “It’s the Black Joy for Me” and the 2022 festival will be the brand’s first live component and option to virtual connect.

“As the nation’s largest festival in per day attendance, the Essence Festival of Culture is a major festival that celebrates community and empowers equality,” Essence CEO Carolyn Vanga said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome the family to New Orleans and thrilled to connect with our greater expatriate family through new digital experiences.”

Essence Ventures Chief Marketing Officer Erica J. Bennett said she is looking into what she describes as a “reunion,” which has attracted more than 500,000 visitors to its events over the years.

“We know that festivals are an opportunity for people from all over the world to come together, to unite one culture, be it in fashion or music or food or all the other wonderful ways that we express ourselves. Special After a few tough years of not being together apparently, our theme of Black Joy really resonates,” said Bennett.

Bennett said his digital experience opens up access globally and has attracted more than 100 million online views.

Essence, in its 27th year, began as a one-time salute in 1995 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine and was known as “a party with a purpose”, the core mission of which was the community. had to give back through free seminars. Enrich the lives of women. It has since grown into the world’s largest celebration of black women, culture and community, organizers have said.

Bennett said Essence Ventures, Essence’s parent company, supports economic equity for people of color and works to ensure that through all of its brands as part of its objective.

“It is important for us to support and uplift a city that has embraced us for so many years,” she said. “Through our marketplace and through Essence Eats, we have been able to generate a $2 billion economic impact in the city of New Orleans over nearly 30 years. And that is a big part, a deep part of our overall mission. ”

The city did not immediately respond to an email seeking details about the city’s current contract with the festival.

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