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Most Admired Woman and Forever First Lady Michelle Obama Confirmed to Headline the 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans

May 16, 2019

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2019--

ESSENCE Communications, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women, today announced that former First Lady Michelle Obama will headline its 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans, LA, taking place July 4-7, 2019. 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 Louisiana 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 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 and surpasses 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 25 th 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 25 th 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 LifeNas’   Illmatic, Brandy ’s Brandy, Method Man ’s Tical,  Scarface ’s Diary,   Big Daddy Kane ’s Daddy’s Home,   Da Brat ’s FunkdafiedSlick 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.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival ® visit Essence.com/festival. Join the festival community: Follow us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of Festival on Facebook.

Sponsors for the 25 th anniversary ESSENCE Festival® include Coca-Cola, AT&T, Disney, Ford, McDonald’s, State Farm and Walmart. The ESSENCE Festival is produced by ESSENCE Communications Inc.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please e-mail festivalpress@essence.com.

About ESSENCE Communications Inc.

ESSENCE Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 17 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, technology-driven company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190516005255/en/

CONTACT: Dana Baxter / Sheila Harris

festivalpress@essence.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA LOUISIANA NEW YORK

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC CELEBRITY COMMUNICATIONS BOOKS PUBLISHING EVENTS/CONCERTS CONSUMER AFRICAN-AMERICAN

SOURCE: ESSENCE Communications Inc.

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PUB: 05/16/2019 06:00 AM/DISC: 05/16/2019 06:01 AM

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