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

– The Best-Selling Author and Global Icon Will Take the Stage at the
Louisiana Superdome to Discuss Her Record-Setting Book, New Focus and
What’s Next –

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 25th 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 25th 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 25th 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.

Contacts

Dana Baxter / Sheila Harris
festivalpress@essence.com

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