NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — After much anticipation, the ESSENCE Festival announced its stellar talent line-up for the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola.
ESSENCE Festival of Culture is the world’s largest cultural, music, entertainment and empowerment experience and the global epicenter of Black culture. As a platform to advance global Black culture, economic ownership and inclusion, and community development, it has contributed more than $4 billion to the local New Orleans economy since its inception.
It has also created a home for Black communities around the world and routinely attracts more than half a million international attendees over the July 4th weekend.
The star-studded lineup will feature performances by Jazmine Sullivan, DJ Khaled & Friends, Ne-Yo, Tank, Michelle Williams, Kirk Franklin, Davido, and D-Nice.
The Festival’s powerful interactive sessions will also showcase leading voices throughout the two weekends, including Mary J. Blige, Angela Yee, Adrienne Bailon, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Tracy G., Tiana Major9, Big Freedia, Miss Lawrence, Supacent, Shantrelle P. Lewis, Jesseca Dupart, and more.
In 2019, the Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary–and annually contributes almost $300 million in economic impact to the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.
ESSENCE is the leading and only 100% Black-owned media, technology and commerce company at scale dedicated to Black women and communities. Incorporating virtual for the second year in light of the pandemic, this year’s event will live up to its theme of “Live Loud” by featuring exciting content across all of its stages centered around culture, equity, and celebration.
As the nation continues to reopen, ESSENCE’s exciting and elevated hybrid experience will present a celebration of the resilience, power and achievement of our community and omnipresence of our culture — and a tribute to the city that the Festival has always called home.
“The ESSENCE Festival of Culture, now the largest festival in the nation by per day attendance, is an unparalleled convening and celebration of global Black culture and continues to have an even deeper impact on our communities via our expanded focus on economic inclusion, cultural ownership, and community development,” said Latraviette Smith-Wilson, ESSENCE Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer.
“As a live experience, the ESSENCE Festival normally attracts more than 500,000 attendees annually during July 4th weekend in New Orleans — but last year, we made the necessary decision to shift our multi-day celebration to an innovative virtual format due to COVID-19. The ESSENCE Festival was the first of its kind and scale to be executed virtually during the pandemic, and our team worked tirelessly to deliver the content, programming, and resources that our community desired. As a result, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture provided much-needed, only-at-ESSENCE content and experiences that inspired, entertained, informed, and empowered—resulting in 45+ million full-stream views of 2020 Festival content to date. This year, we are thrilled to bring forth another exciting talent line-up, curated programming, and a new hybrid experience that will directly touch the people of New Orleans and Louisiana while also further extending our reach, engagement, and impact via enhanced digital, technology, and streaming capabilities to connect more of our community in the U.S. and across the diaspora.”
For the 2021 Festival experience and under strict adherence to guidance from local health agencies, ESSENCE will produce live activations available only to New Orleans and Louisiana residents— honoring essential workers and first responders—that will be integrated into the virtual experience during both weekends.