July 5, 2012 | Upcoming Events

This weekend, Essence Fest returns to downtown New Orleans, and it’s bigger than it ever has been, expanding to five full days of contemporary black American music and culture. Legendary soul queen Aretha Franklin headlines, along with Keyshia Cole, Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Trey Songz, Eve, the Pointer Sisters, Kirk Franklin and more! Franklin is expected to be honored with Essence’s “Power Award” for her contributions to African-American music.

The Essence Fest “Empowerment Experience” will also include appearances and talks by leading thinkers, influential figures and lauded authors, taking place at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center during the day.

In addition, many of New Orleans’ own musicians will take part in Essence Fest this year, including Grammy winners Rebirth Brass Band, singer/songwriter Ledisi and community-building kids’ program the Roots of Music Marching Crusaders. With the Roots of Music and other artists like the OMG Girlz, Essence is reaching out to a younger audience and showing support for emerging music.

Essence Fest started in 1995, originally intended to be a one-off event marking Essence Magazine’s 25th anniversary. Now, Essence Fest is approaching its own 20th birthday. Already, Canal Street, the CBD and the Superdome area are packed with both locals and out-of-town visitors as New Orleans gets ready to show the world “The Power of Our Voice”!

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