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Yes, the 2021 ESSENCE Fest will be virtual once again [damn you, ‘Rona] but aunties and good music lovers should still rejoice.

ESSENCE has announced an “elevated hybrid experience” amid COVID-19 concerns for the 2021 festival that usually takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture is promising a “celebration of the resilience, power, and achievement of our community and omnipresence of our culture “and a tribute to NOLA, the city that the Festival has always called home. With that, there will be some limited in-person experiences available for NOLA first responders and essential workers, everyone else however will watch from home.

This year’s 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. The Festival will stream on and—Friday-Sunday over two weekends, June 25-27 and July 2-4.

“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 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.”


“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.”

Will YOU be watching the 2021 ESSENCE festival?


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