NEW ORLEANS – On Thursday morning, ESSENCE Communications, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to black women, announced that former First Lady Michelle Obama will headline its 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival of Culture.
The best-selling author and global icon will take the stage at the Superdome to discuss her record-setting book, new focus and what’s next.
The four-day festival takes place fourth of July weekend (July 4-7.)
On the heels of the historic success of her book Becoming, the appearance will mark Mrs. Obama’s first engagement at the Festival and will include a sit-down interview on July 6 at the Superdome.
Mrs. Obama also appeared on the December 2018 cover of ESSENCE magazine and will contribute the monthly closing article – A Word – to the July/August issue.
The 2019 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola, the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience, is a ‘one-of-a-kind epicenter’ and celebration of global black culture.
The festival continues to reach new heights, with a focus on economic inclusion, cultural ownership and community development.
More than 500,000 attendees are expected, surpassing every national music, entertainment, and cultural festival based on average daily attendance.
“We are indescribably thrilled and honored to have ‘Forever First Lady’ Michelle Obama as a part of our 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival, which will mark our most exciting and extensive programming to date,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications. “As inspiring and aspirational as it is relatable, Mrs. Obama’s story – told on her own terms – is a remarkable example and celebration of everyday Black women who accomplish extraordinary things, who confront challenges with courage and truth, and who remind us that all things are possible when we support one another. Over 25 years, the Festival has done just that – becoming a cultural home for millions of Black women to honor, celebrate and engage each other in service and sisterhood, laughter and love, and empowerment and community.”
The 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival will have its largest footprint ever, spanning more than 10 venues across New Orleans and encompassing several new and enhanced curated experiences.
These include the Global Black Economic Forum; Fashion House; Wellness House; ESSENCE Black Excellence Awards; ESSENCE Food & Wine Festival; ESSENCE Music Festival; Beauty Carnival; ESSENCE After Dark; ESSENCE Film & TV Festival; Power Stage; E-Suite; ESSENCE Marketplace; and ESSENCE Day of Service/Girls United.
In addition to Mrs. Obama’s appearance, an epic ‘homecoming’ musical line-up of more than 80 performers is slated at the Louisiana Superdome – including Mary J. Blige, Nas, Missy Elliott, H.E.R., Big Freedia, Davido, Frankie Beverly, Jermaine Dupri, MC Lyte, Pharrell Williams, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky & Mike (RBRM), Sheila E., Teddy Riley, Teyana Taylor, Timbaland, and more!
A 25th anniversary celebration of 1994’s most culturally impactful and transformative albums that redefined pop culture will also be curated and performed by the original artists. These include Mary J. Blige’s My Life, Nas’ Illmatic, Brandy’s Brandy, Method Man’s Tical, Scarface’s Diary, Big Daddy Kane’s Daddy’s Home, Da Brat’s Funkdafied, Slick Rick’s Behind Bars and Brownstone’s From the Bottom Up.
Weekend and single-night ticket packages for the evening music festival concert series are on sale now. For the first time ever, ESSENCE is introducing the 2019 Weekend VIP Power Pass, which provides access to a premium experience at all of the Festival’s ticketed events throughout the weekend, including the evening Music Festival, Fashion House, Beauty Carnival, ESSENCE Day in the Park, Wellness House and Power Stage, among other experiences to be announced.