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Former First Lady Michelle Obama has been announced as a headliner for the 25th anniversary of Essence Fest of Culture in New Orleans. Obama will join already announced appearances from Mary J Blige, Missy Elliott and HER for the July 4-7 festival and conference.
“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 CEO of Essence Communications Michelle Ebanks in a release.
The 25th anniversary event will be Obama’s first appearance at the festival and follows her successful tour in support of her memoir Becoming. Obama will sit down July 6 at the Louisiana Superdome for an interview. In December, Obama graced the cover of Essence magazine and will contribute the monthly closing article, “A Word,” for the July/August issue.
“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,” added Ebanks. “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 2019 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola is a one-of-a-kind epicenter and celebration of global Black culture and continues to reach new heights with a focus on economic inclusion, cultural ownership and community development. The Festival now attracts more than 500,000 attendees each weekend.
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 Obama’s appearance, an epic “homecoming” musical lineup of more than 80 performers is slated — including Mary J. Blige, Nas, Missy Elliott, H.E.R., Big Freedia, Davido, Frankie Beverly, Jermaine Dupri, MC Lyte, Pharrell Williams and Sheila E.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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Jeriana San Juan