Data News Staff Edited Report
First-Ever Virtual Festival Includes Two UNSTOPPABLE Weekends of #ESSENCEFEST
with Daytime Empowerment Experiences and Nighttime Concerts
All Streaming on ESSENCEStudios.com, June 25-28 and July 2-5 (This whole part in small print as subtitle)
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to change the way many are living their lives these days where the new normal have caused many large-scale events being cancelled. But in the continuing spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, Essence Fest 2020 will go on as a virtual festival. It is expected to as always bring people together for the party with a purpose and an amazing display of Black Excellence.
What’s in Store
Under the leadership of Entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis who purchased ESSENCE in 2018, placing it back in the hands of 100 percent Black Ownership. Since that time, he and his team have expanded this 50-year-old company into new frontiers extended it to audiences globally.
Essence today is the leading media, technology and Commerce Company serving Black women and communities, today announced new additions to its stellar line-up for the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture: Unstoppable Virtual Experience Presented by Coca-Cola. Taking place June 25th-28th and July 2nd-5th (Thursdays-Sundays) and streaming on ESSENCEStudios.com, the multi-day experience will extend to a global audience of viewers and feature virtual performances, summits, panels and more including leading musical artists, influencers and experts from around the world.
For the first time in the Festival’s 26-year history, the much-anticipated celebration – which annually draws more than 500,000 attendees and contributes almost $300 million in economic impact over the July 4th weekend in New Orleans–will be produced as a fully virtual experience spanning two weekends of programming that entertain, empower, inspire, educate and mobilize. This year, in partnership with Michelle Obama’s national, non-partisan organization, When We All Vote, ESSENCE will share voter registration and voting resources. The Festival will also include a benefit initiative to raise funds to support the critical needs and sustainability of Black and Brown entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses, and organizations focused on racial equity across the U.S. For an up-to-date artist lineup and schedule, click here. The 2020 ESSENCE Festival is presented by Coca-Cola. Major sponsors include Ford, McDonald’s, Walmart, My Black is Beautiful, P&G. For more information and to register, visit www.essencefestival.com. Join the conversation via social @EssenceFest.
Empowerment and Entertainment
Newly Announced participants include: First Lady Michelle Obama; Kerry Washington; Naomi Campbell; Lena Waithe; Ayesha and Stephen Curry; Rev. Al Sharpton; Marc Morial; Tamika Mallory; Tarana Burke; Jon Batiste; Chronixx; Michaela Coel; Wyclef; Iyanla Vanzant; Sarah Jessica Parker; Iman Shumpert & Teyana Taylor. PLUS: Marco Borges; Jemele Hill; Misa Hylton; Jeanette Jenkins; MC Lyte; Jodie Patterson; Michael Jai White & Gillian White; Ebonie K. Williams; and many more.
The show is chockfull of amazing talent and people can expect incredible performances from:
Headliner Bruno Mars plus: Amanda Black, Andra Day, Bell Biv Devoe (“BBD”), Burna Boy, Common, D-Nice, Damian Marley, Diamond Platnumz, Doug E. Fresh, Elephant Man, Estelle, India.Arie, John Legend, Ledisi, NAS, Patti LaBelle, Raphael Saadiq, Rapsody, Sauti Sol, Shaggy, Swizz Beatz and more, hosted by Loni Love.
New Orleans in the Spotlight During Fest
Leading a special tribute to the City of New Orleans will be Mayor LaToya Cantrell, PJ Morton, Big Freedia, Irma Thomas, Tank and The Bangas and Big 6 Brass Band. Also, featured in the popular Sunday Gospel Get Lifted Celebration are Anita Wilson, Bri Babineaux, Erica Campbell, Fred Hammond, Greater Sound of Greater St. Stephen FGBC, Jonathan McReynolds, Kierra Sheard, Kirk Franklin, Koryn Hawthorne, Marvin Sapp, Tamela Mann, The Clark Sisters, The Walls Group, Tye Tribbett, and more, along with Sunday sermons from Bishop Paul S. Morton and Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Voices of Change
Other culture-leaders and influencers raising their voices to speak include: New Orleans, LA, Mayor LaToya Cantrell; Atlanta, GA, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Chicago, IL, Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser; Ferguson, MO, Mayor-Elect Ella Jones; San Francisco, CA, Mayor London Breed; Don Lemon; Ryan Michelle Bathe; Kirk and Tammy Franklin; Lori Harvey; Ryan Destiny; Lexi Underwood; Egypt Sherrod; Lisa Nichols; Master P.; Shaun T.; Tabitha Brown and more.
These two amazing weekends are a testament to Essence and its continued role as a leader in empowering Black People and giving voice to the struggle for equality and justice. In these times where race is at the forefront Essence is showing that it is committed to empowering people of African descent not only here in America, but all over the globe.