News

ESSENCE Continues Its 50th Anniversary Celebration With the Announcement of Grammy-Award Winning Megastar and First-time Festival Performer Bruno Mars to Headline the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture

Also Headlining Is Janet Jackson, Returning With Her Just-Announced and Highly-Anticipated Black Diamond World Tour

Festival Superdome Line-Up Includes Electrifying Performances By Ari Lennox, Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle, Raphael Saadiq, Summer Walker, Swizz Beatz and More; Hosted by Loni Love

Unforgettable Nightly Anniversary Tributes to Music Icons, Plus July 4th Superdome Party

Festival Extended to Five Days with New Programming, July 1-5 In New Orleans, and ‘Own Our Power’ as the 2020 theme

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ESSENCE, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women globally, is continuing the year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary with the announcement of GRAMMY-award winning artists Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson as mainstage headliners for the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola. This will be the first-ever ESSENCE Festival appearance and the only 2020 U.S. festival performance for Mars, a celebrated singer, songwriter, producer and musician who has sold over 200 million singles worldwide. Jackson’s performance will mark her third appearance at the Festival, which will take place during her newly-announced Black Diamond World Tour.

“This is a milestone year for ESSENCE and our community as we celebrate 50 years of creating opportunities for our culture to shine and the role of Black women in making it possible for us to do what no other brand has done,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of ESSENCE Communications, Inc. “To be able to say that at 50 years, we are Black-owned, diversified across media, technology, commerce and live events, and impacting our culture in new and even deeper ways than ever before is a blessing – and one that comes with a tremendous responsibility to our community to continue to evolve, innovate and transform. That remains our focus and commitment as we work to ensure that we are here serving Black women deeply and advancing Black culture, economic ownership and inclusion globally for the next 50 years.”

Ebanks continued, “In this celebration year, ESSENCE could not be more excited to welcome Bruno Mars for the first time and to have Janet Jackson return to headline the mainstage during the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. These two powerhouses, along with our robust slate of programming, performances and tributes, will continue our legacy of cultural excellence and dynamic, only-at-ESSENCE experiences that excite, elevate and inspire. To Bruno, Janet and all our ESSENCE Festival artists we say, ‘Welcome home.’”

ESSENCE 50th Anniversary/Festival of Culture Announcement – cont. p. 2

As the world’s largest cultural, music, entertainment and empowerment experience and the global epicenter of Black culture, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture has created a home for Black artists and communities around the world for 26 years and routinely attracts more than half a million international attendees over July 4th weekend. In honor of the brand’s 50th anniversary and marking one day for each decade, the Festival will be extended for the first time from three

days to five days and will take place July 1-5 in New Orleans, LA. This year’s theme, “Own Our Power,” will be at the center of performances, conversations and activations that span arts, entertainment, music, beauty, fashion, technology, film, food, wellness, advocacy, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

The Festival’s three-night concert series at the Louisiana Superdome—featuring an eclectic global mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, Reggaeton, Afrobeats and more—includes:

Mainstage:

Bruno Mars, Janet Jackson (headliners); Ari Lennox; Janelle Monae; Patti LaBelle; Raphael Saadiq (Performing songs across his entire career from Tony! Toni! Tone! through his solo albums, including Jimmy Lee); Estelle Presents Reggae & Afrobeats Link Up featuring Afro B, Chronnix, Elephant Man, Kranium, Max Glazer, Maxi Priest, Shenseea and more; Summer Walker; Swizz Beatz Presents In the Zone featuring guest artists; and more. Hosted by Loni Love. Music by D-Nice. In addition, the Mainstage will feature rousing tributes to music icons each night, including a special anniversary celebration on July 4th.

Superlounges:

Casmé, D Smoke; Demi Grace; Doug E. Fresh Presents The Real Hip-Hop and R&B Party; Elah Hale; Goldlink; Jac Ross; Jamesdavis; Jidenna; June’s Diary; Kiana Lede; Kitty Cash; Leikeli47; Masego; Mr Eazi; Oswin Benjamin; Rapsody; Saweetie; SiR; Smino; Stokley; Tamia; Tank and the Bangas; Teamarrr; The New Respects; Umi.

Weekend ticket packages are on sale now with prices starting at $180. For information about ticket sales, accommodations, recently launched exhibitor applications and VIP travel packages, and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival of Culture,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 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ include Coca-Cola and State Farm. The ESSENCE Festival is produced by ESSENCE Communications, Inc.

ESSENCE 50th Anniversary/Festival of Culture Announcement – cont. p. 3

Additional details for ESSENCE 50th Anniversary celebration activities throughout the year will be announced soon.

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 20.2 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 consumer technology company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

Contacts

Sheila Harris, ESSENCE

917-648-7318

sharris@essence.com

Aisha Becker-Burrowes, ESSENCE
347-585-3573
abeckerburrowes@essence.com

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