Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus

Jun 28, 2022, 8:44 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2022, 10:30 am
FILE - Singer Janet Jackson performs during the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain, on Nov. 4, 20...

FILE - Singer Janet Jackson performs during the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain, on Nov. 4, 2018. Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 2022 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture. Headliners will include Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, Mickey Guyton and New Edition. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)

(Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans as thousands converge on the city for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture.

The multiday event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart in the Smoothie King Center, followed by ticketed concerts at the Louisiana Superdome Friday through Sunday. First-time headliner, rapper Nicki Minaj, performs Friday along with another first-timer, country singer Mickey Guyton. Music icon Janet Jackson, who took the stage in 2010 and 2018, is the featured artist on Saturday and fan favorite, 80s R&B group New Edition, will close the event on Sunday. Other artists scheduled to perform include Jazmine Sullivan, City Girls, Summer Walker, The Roots, The Isley Brothers, Method Man, Tems, Patti LaBelle and Stephanie Mills.

In addition, free experiences are being offered inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center including a tech summit, an opportunity for men called “In His Zone,” a marketplace highlighting local vendors, a food and wine experience, a beauty carnival, and the ever-popular gospel celebration.

Organizers encourage all participants — whether in-person or virtual — to download the festival’s app and register through EssenceFestival.com. In addition, in-person participants are required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination even though that requirement was dropped in March by the city since the pandemic had eased.

Festival organizers have said “vaccination is for everyone’s protection” and proof of such is needed for admission.

The festival, much like others the city is known for, has been on an in-person hiatus since 2020 because of the virus outbreak but was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. Before that, it had been held in New Orleans every year except in 2006 when it moved to Houston while the Superdome was being repaired following Hurricane Katrina.

This year’s theme is “It’s The Black Joy For Me” and the 2022 festival will be the brand’s first to offer a live component and the option to connect virtually.

“As the nation’s largest festival by per day attendance, the Essence Festival of Culture is a staple that celebrates community and empowers equity,” Essence CEO Caroline Wanga said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome the family back to New Orleans and thrilled to connect with more of our diasporic family through new digital experiences.”

Erika J. Bennett, chief marketing officer for Essence Ventures, said she’s looking forward to what she describes as a “reunion” that has attracted more than 500,000 visitors to its events in past years.

“We know the festival is an opportunity for people, all over the world, to come together, to unite a culture, whether that’s through fashion or music or food or all the wonderful other ways we express ourselves. Particularly after some really hard years of not being together, our theme of Black joy, really resonates,” Bennett said.

Bennett said their digital experience opens access globally and has attracted more than 100 million online views.

Essence, in its 27th year, started in 1995 as a one-time salute to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine and was known as “a party with a purpose” with an original mission to give back to the community through free seminars designed to enrich women’s lives. It has since evolved into the world’s largest celebration of Black women, culture and community, organizers have said.

Bennett said Essence Ventures, the parent company of Essence, supports economic equity for people of color and works to ensure that through all of its brands as part of its purpose.

“It’s important for us to support and uplift a city that’s embraced us for so many years,” she said. “Through our marketplace and through Essence Eats, we have been able to generate a $2 billion economic impact, over nearly 30 years, to the City of New Orleans. And that is a bigger part, a deeper part of our overall mission.”

The city did not immediately respond to an email seeking details about the city’s current contract with the festival. The current contract runs through 2024. Discussions are currently being held regarding a contract extension, said John F. Lawson, deputy press secretary for Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaks during a Labour Party press conference to launch a report o...
Associated Press

Eyeing power, UK Labour Party vows to abolish House of Lords

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Monday pledged to scrap Parliament’s unelected upper house if it wins government as part of a raft if policies intended to stake out Labour’s ground for the next election. The left-of-center party has been out of power since 2010, but has a big lead in opinion polls […]
1 day ago
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa leaves an African National Congress (ANC) national executiv...
Associated Press

South African president’s future considered by ruling party

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A crucial meeting of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party to discuss the future of President Cyril Ramaphosa got underway in Johannesburg on Monday, party officials confirmed. The meeting is expected to decide if Ramaphosa should remain as its leader or resign following a damning parliamentary report about the theft of […]
1 day ago
Sean Fisher, one of the student coordinators for QPLUS, the LGBTQ student organization for the Coll...
Associated Press

LGBTQ students wrestle with tensions at Christian colleges

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — As monks chanted prayers in Saint John’s University church, members of the student LGBTQ organization, QPLUS, were meeting in their lounge at the Minnesota institution’s sister Benedictine college, a few miles away. To Sean Fisher, a senior who identifies as non-binary and helps lead QPLUS, its official recognition and funding by […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Putin signs law expanding LGBT ‘propaganda’ restrictions

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBT rights in the country. A 2013 law banned what authorities deem to be spreading “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. The new law expands that ban to spreading such information to people […]
1 day ago
Sean Fisher, one of the student coordinators for QPLUS, the LGBTQ student organization for the Coll...
Associated Press

LGBTQ students wrestle with tensions at Christian colleges

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — As monks chanted evening prayers in the dimly lit Saint John’s University church, members of the student LGBTQ organization, QPLUS, were meeting in a dedicated, Pride flag-lined lounge at the institution’s sister Benedictine college, a few miles away across Minnesota farmland. To Sean Fisher, a senior who identifies as non-binary and […]
1 day ago
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese leaders lead by Chinese President Xi Jinping,...
Associated Press

China party officials pay respects to former leader Jiang

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and other current and previous top officials paid their respects Monday to former leader Jiang Zemin, who died last week at age 96. State broadcaster CCTV showed Xi, his predecessor Hu Jintao and others bowing to Jiang’s body at a military hospital in Beijing. Jiang’s body was then […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus