janet jackson essence festival

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Janet Jackson, Kevin Hart and Nicki Minaj are among the headliners announced Thursday for this summer’s Essence Festival of Culture, which returns to New Orleans after a two-year hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Others tapped to entertain June 30 through July 3 include New Edition, The Isley Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, Summer Walker, The Roots & Friends and D-Nice & Friends, Essence Communications Inc. said in a news release. Additional talent and details will be announced later.

“We are excited to welcome the family back live to New Orleans and thrilled to connect with more of our diasporic family through new digital experiences,” Essence CEO Caroline Wanga said in the announcement.

In addition to the nightly concerts inside the Superdome, the festival will include programming on networking, finance, career, wellness, fashion, beauty and more at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other entertainment in venues citywide.

Launched in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine, the festival has evolved into the world’s largest celebration of Black women, culture and communities, convening more than 530,000 people annually over the July 4th weekend in New Orleans, the company statement said.

The festival, with the 2022 theme “It’s The Black Joy For Me,” plans to expand its digital programming, livestreaming “select on-the-ground activities” as well as creating new digital-only content and experiences, the company added.

And even though some COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, proof of vaccination is required to participate in festival events, organizers said.

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