Janelle Monae, Raphael Saadiq, Ari Lennox & Summer Walker also among slated performers.
Essence is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a bang. Multi-Grammy winners Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson are the mainstage headliners for the magazine’s 2020 Essence Festival of Culture. Mars’ appearance will be his first time performing at the festival — and his only 2020 U.S. festival performance. Presented by Coca-Cola, Essence Festival of Culture will expand for the first time from three to five days (July 1-5) in New Orleans, marking one day for each decade. This year’s theme is “Own Our Power.”
Jackson will be making her third appearance at the festival. The renowned singer-songwriter’s appearance will take place during her newly announced Black Diamond World Tour, titled after her upcoming 12th studio album.
In addition to Jackson and Mars, the festival’s three-night concert series thus far will include the following lineups at the Louisiana Superdome:
Main stage: Ari Lennox, Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle, Raphael Saadiq (performing songs across his entire career from Tony! Toni! Tone! through his solo albums, including Jimmy Lee), Estelle Presents Reggae & Afrobeats Link Up featuring Afro B, Chronnix, Elephant Man, Kranium, Max Glazer, Maxi Priest, Shenseea and more, Summer Walker, Swizz Beatz Presents In the Zone featuring guest artists.Hosted by Loni Love with music by D-Nice, the mainstage lineup will salute music icons each night, including a special anniversary celebration on July 4.
Superlounges: Casmé, D Smoke, Demi Grace, Doug E. Fresh Presents The Real Hip-Hop and R&B Party, Elah Hale, Goldlink, Jac Ross, Jamesdavis, Jidenna, June’s Diary, Kiana Lede, Kitty Cash, Leikeli47, Masego, Mr Eazi, Oswin Benjamin, Rapsody, Saweetie, SiR, Smino, Stokley, Tamia, Tank and the Bangas, TeaMarrr, The New Respects and Umi.
“This is a milestone year for Essence and our community as we celebrate 50 years of creating opportunities for our culture to shine and the role of black women in making it possible for us to do what no other brand has done,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc. “To be able to say that at 50 years, we are black-owned, diversified across media, technology, commerce and live events, and impacting our culture in new and even deeper ways than ever before is a blessing – and one that comes with a tremendous responsibility to our community to continue to evolve, innovate and transform. That remains our focus and commitment as we work to ensure that we are here serving black women deeply and advancing black culture, economic ownership and inclusion globally for the next 50 years.”
Regarding Mars and Jackson, Ebanks added, “These two powerhouses, along with our robust slate of programming, performances and tributes, will continue our legacy of cultural excellence and dynamic, only-at-Essence experiences that excite, elevate and inspire.”