Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan among headliners for female-focused Essence Fest 2017

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 22: Popular music icon Diana Ross listens to President Barack Obama before being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to 19 living and two posthumous pioneers in science, sports, public service, human rights, politics and the arts. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan and Erykah Badu are just some of the high-profile names coming to Essence Fest 2017.

The annual music and education festival released its initial lineup this morning, and it is unapologetically female-centric.

“This year’s Festival lineup puts women at the forefront of an incredible weekend of entertainment featuring more than 40 of the world’s most gifted artists and performers,” Essence President Michelle Ebanks said in a press release. “It is an honor to welcome the inimitable Diana Ross to the Festival for the first time. Plus, Festival veteran Mary J. Blige is back to share ‘Strength of a Woman’ with her most passionate fans.”

India.Arie, Doug E Fresh, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend, June’s Diary, Lalah Hathaway, Lizzo, Master P, Michel’le, Moses Sumney, Ro James, Shaggy, Sir the Baptist, Solange, Teyana Taylor, The Jones Girls Feat. Shirley Jones, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tweet, and Yuna are also among the artists named as performers.

The A-list nighttime concerts will feature more than 40 acts and will take place across five stages — including the Festival’s renowned Mainstage and four intimate Superlounges. Mary J. Blige will headline a special night, themed My Path to Strength, introducing her highly anticipated album “Strength of a Woman.”

Weekend ticket packages are on sale Friday, December 16, at 10 a.m., with prices starting at $126. For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the Essence Festival visit Essence Festival.