Celebrating 25 Years, ESSENCE Festival Transforms into Platform Advancing Global Black Culture, Economic Ownership & Inclusion

– With an International Audience of 500,000+ Attendees Over July 4th
Weekend and a Total Economic Impact of Approximately $4 Billion, ESSENCE
Festival Has Created a “Home” for Black Communities as the World’s
Largest Cultural, Entertainment and Empowerment Experience –

– Programming Intersects Arts, Entertainment, Music, Beauty, Fashion,
Technology, Film, Food, Wellness, Advocacy, Entrepreneurship and
Economic Empowerment –

– New This Year: ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum, ESSENCE Black
Excellence Awards, ESSENCE Wellness House, ESSENCE Fashion House and
ESSENCE Food & Wine Festival –

– Introducing VIP Power Pass for Premium Experience at Festival
Events –

-Plus, More than 80 Music Acts –

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola, the world’s largest
cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience, is marking its 25th
anniversary July 4-7, 2019 in New Orleans, LA. The Festival, the only
experience of its kind, is also the largest celebration of global Black
culture and continues to reach new heights with a focus on economic
inclusion, cultural ownership and community development. Now attracting
more than 500,000 attendees each weekend, the ESSENCE Festival surpasses
every national music, entertainment, and cultural festival based on
average daily attendance and is planning its most extensive programming
to date.

With a daily line-up of diverse, can’t-miss enrichment and entertainment
programming, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will be a safe space
where hundreds of thousands of multigenerational attendees gather to be
informed, inspired and empowered. Offering new and elevated experiences,
each activation will serve the unmet needs of Black women across the
globe and bring the pages of the magazine and online content to life as
never before across arts, entertainment, music, beauty, fashion,
technology, film, food, wellness, advocacy, entrepreneurship and
economic empowerment.

“For 25 years, the ESSENCE Festival has embodied the power and purpose
of our culture – bringing a total of more than $4 billion in economic
impact to the City of New Orleans and state of Louisiana and most
importantly, serving as a sacred ground for millions of Black women to
engage each other in community, sisterhood, service, family, love,
laughter, joy, hope, and empowerment,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of
ESSENCE Communications. “Today, the Festival is a full celebration of
that culture – what we have achieved, how we honor each other, and where
we’re going from here. For us, as a 100% Black-owned company, that
includes building from the Festival’s foundation of music,
entertainment, and empowerment to also now reclaiming our economics and
facilitating more opportunities for ownership of and in the culture that
we create, innovate and evolve.”

Ebanks continued, “ESSENCE is home, and we know that home is where the
heart is. It is where we go to be restored and sustained. No matter
where we travel in the world, there’s no place like it. So, the ESSENCE
Festival is also a much-anticipated homecoming for Black artists to be
uplifted and replenished, for our brightest minds to convene around
solutions to critical issues impacting our communities, and for our most
creative, bold and passionate selves to be celebrated and renewed.
ESSENCE is that place, and today we say “Welcome home.”

In addition to an epic ‘homecoming’ musical line-up
of more than 80 performers 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 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.

The 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival will also span more than 10 venues
across New Orleans and encompass several new and enhanced curated
experiences, including (**indicates new for 2019):

**Global Black Economic Forum – Attendees connect with today’s
most seasoned corporate moguls and inspiring entrepreneurs, focused on
building economic empowerment and generational wealth, featuring the
Black CEO Roundtable, The Billionaire’s Forum, Entrepreneur’s Summit,
relationship-building opportunities, and more.

**Fashion House – With ongoing accusations of cultural
appropriation and tone deafness in news and social headlines around the
world, many major and luxury fashion brands continue to face issues
around their appreciation, understanding and representation of people of
color globally. In addition, the increasing awareness that free
promotion from cultural giants in the Black community bestow a lucrative
cultural significance to these brands, but with little economic
inclusion, and as Black creatives struggle to create and maintain
significant business, this conundrum presents the challenge of how do we
exercise our creative and economic influence for the benefit of our
community. Focused on elevating the Black fashion community as well as
the fashion experience for Black consumers, the Fashion House will
provide the necessary tools for Black-owned brands to be successful and
opportunities for major fashion brands to provide support, capital and
partnerships for Black designers and consumers, as well as curate and
showcase Black-owned brands via a shoppable designer trunk show and
online Fashion House collaborations.

**Wellness House – The declining state of health and wellness in
the Black community mandates that we do more – in more places, with more
people – to educate and activate Black women and families around what it
means to truly live well physically, mentally and emotionally. At the
Wellness House, attendees will engage in an enlightening and inspiring
environment focused on self-care, including educational and motivational
conversations with some of today’s leading health and wellness experts;
an array of fitness and wellness activities and programming; cooking and
nutrition classes; wholesome and delicious food and more with
nationally-renown speakers, instructors, trainers, chefs, and special
guests.

**ESSENCE Black Excellence Awards

The ESSENCE Black Excellence Awards will embrace the triumph of everyday
leaders in our communities; honoring trailblazers across disciplines
including the Arts, Education, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, Film, Food,
Music, Social Justice, Sports, Technology, Wellness and more. This
elegant celebration of local and global heroes will also spotlight the
impact of corporations, government and Black-owned businesses working
collectively for the advancement of all.

**ESSENCE Food & Wine Festival – Foodies indulge in a wide
range of mouthwatering selections at ESSENCE’s official culinary
experience, featuring ‘ESSENCE Eats’ pop-ups at multiple locations
throughout New Orleans.

ESSENCE Music Festival – The Festival’s 3-night, evening concert
series will present more than 80 of the world’s greatest artists and
performers across five stages, featuring artist-led curations, tribute
moments and one-of-a-kind, only-at-ESSENCE collaborations, as well as a
new intimate venue series called After Dark.

Beauty Carnival – Beauty enthusiasts pamper themselves in an
immersive beauty experience designed to meet their individual needs.
From live tutorials to curated shopping destinations, beauty fans
explore a vivid spectacle of global beauty.

ESSENCE Film & TV Festival – Fans’ all-access to exclusive
previews and screenings, appearances and meet & greets with the
industry’s most popular casts and performers, featuring the Screening
Room, Center Stage and Fan Zone.

Power Stage – Audiences take in a range of empowering
conversations with today’s most influential voices, tackling key issues
around politics, love and family, activism, wealth and more.

E-Suite – With a membership pass, subscribers access an exclusive
suite for entrepreneurs and senior-level women in business. From panel
conversations to recruitment opportunities with our partners, E-Suite is
the Festival’s top destination for executives and entrepreneurs.

ESSENCE Marketplace – With participation from nearly 300
entrepreneurs, the ESSENCE Marketplace will offer a specially curated,
daily retail experience across multiple destinations throughout New
Orleans during the four-day weekend. Attendees will indulge in bespoke
culinary, craft and retail shopping environments that present unique,
culturally diverse and authentic offerings from around the world.

Day of Service/Girls United – The 2019 annual “Day of Service” –
community reinvestment via projects around New Orleans focused on
rehabilitation, beautification and inspiration – will focus on ESSENCE
Girls United, ESSENCE’s Gen Z platform and the mentoring initiative
focused on helping this generation increase their academic potential,
self-love and leadership skills. The day will culminate with ESSENCE Day
in the Park – a community celebration at Louis Armstrong Park with
music, food and local vendors.

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, Ford, McDonald’s, State Farm and Walmart.
The ESSENCE Festival is produced by ESSENCE Communications Inc.

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

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Dana Baxter
festivalpress@essence.com