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Essence Announces Star Studded Festival Dates

 NEW YORK -- Award-winning and multi-platinum superstars Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jill Scott, and Trey Songz lead the initial all-star roster of many returning favorites for the eagerly-anticipated 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL this July 1, 2 and 3 in New Orleans. The trailblazing artists are a part of a stellar group of established and emerging artists who continue to honor "The Roots of R&B" including Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Stephanie Mills, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Macy Gray, Dwele, Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle, Mint Condition, Kelly Price, M.C. Lyte and New Orleans talent including Irma Thomas, Kourtney Heart, Rebirth Brass Band, Charmaine Neville Band, and TBC Brass Band.

"Essence is proud to present our most beloved and rising talent across all R&B categories for our first announcement. We listen to our audience and the performers in our first roll-out are the musicians they want to see under one roof over the Fourth of July weekend," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "Our mission this year was to celebrate community through the prism of the art form that continues to tell our reader's stories: R&B. From the Main Stage to the Super Lounge, we've assembled an unforgettable roster of talent who provide a snapshot of this music's ability to connect with audiences unlike few genres. Stay tuned. We have additional names to come. This is going to be an Essence Music Festival that attendees will talk about for a long time!"

Now in its 17th year, the ultimate destination for entertainment and inspiration hosted over 400,000 attendees last year. What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events" by Advertising Age. The ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture. Throughout its history, the Festival has featured an array of performers including Alicia Keys, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams, among others.


ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is "Where Black Women Come First". The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For more than 40 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives.



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