Mary J. Blige Confirmed as First Headliner of Essence Fest

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — This July will see the return of singer/producer and actress Mary J. Blige to the Essence Music Festival, set for July 2, 3 and 4 in New Orleans. Not only will the Queen of Hip-Hop soul and nine-time Grammy winner serve as one of the Essence Music Festival's headliners, this year she will also take on the role as the festival's official spokesperson in the months leading up to the annual weekend of entertainment and empowerment. Blige has performed eight times at Essence (last in 2008), where she'll be part of a line-up featuring some of the biggest names in entertainment and the nation's most influential speakers, artists, authors and leaders.


"We're thrilled to have Mary J. Blige on board for this year's Essence Music Festival," said Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc. "Her history with the Essence brand, both with the festival and the magazine, makes her a great spokesperson for this year's festival and we're looking forward to working with her over the next few months."


This year, the Essence Music Festival will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Essence Magazine, and a limited number of special weekend ticket packages for the annual weekend of entertainment and inspiration are available now.


Last year, the ultimate destination for entertainment, empowerment, culture and community celebrated its 15th anniversary with a record-breaking 428,000 attendees. 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; in its 16-year history, it 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, Kanye West, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams.


The presenting sponsor for the 2010 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola.


The 2010 Essence Music Festival is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC and produced by Rehage Entertainment. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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