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Community Advocacy Organization

The 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Graphic by Charity Treat


Now what you hear is not a test: The 2023 ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM, presented by Coca-Cola® is back in New Orleans for its 29th year and a celebration of 50 years of hip hop. From fresh fits to lyrical hits, the in-person and virtual experience will both explore and showcase how hip-hop has impacted every aspect of global culture through daytime programming and nightly shows.

Ever a hallmark of ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM are the live evening performances, which feature some of the most award-winning hip-hop artists to rock the mic over the last 50 years including headliners Ms.Lauryn Hill, who will give a special performance of the 5x Grammy-winning album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in recognition of its 25th anniversary, and 3x Grammy Award-winning artist, Megan TheeStallion. Doug E. Fresh will curate a special performance of hip-hop pioneers, and in honor of So So Def’s30th anniversary, Grammy award-winning super producer and label founder, Jermaine Dupri, will deliver a special performance with some of the biggest names in hip-hop to come out of Atlanta. Other artists joining the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM stage include Wizkid, Monica, Coco Jones, and Kizz Daniel. Fans can look forward to laughs every night with evening hosts Deon Cole, Affion Crockett, Spice Adams, and Janelle James, as well as sounds by DJ Spinderella, DJ Kid Capri, and DJ Clark Kent. Additional talent and experiences will be announced soon.

Like hip-hop, the ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM is more than just music. Attendees will embark on a celebration of hip-hop’s rich history across stages and experiences throughout the four-day event, which will kick off on June 29th. The multi-generational experience entrenched in culture, equity, and celebration extends ESSENCE’s long-standing commitment to creating opportunities that will economically benefit and contribute to local Black-owned businesses.

“For nearly three decades, the ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM has been an international and joyful gathering that empowers community throughout the global Black diaspora. As the nation’s largest festival by per day attendance, it continues to be a crown jewel of Black culture and plays a pivotal role in the amplification and celebration of the contributions of the Black community through business, music, and more. As we gear up to celebrate the ‘50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop’, we couldn’t think of a better way to honor the contributions the genre has made to global culture and the impressions that these artists and their deep musical catalogs, which we all know so well, have been ingrained into the fibers of our day to day lives,” said Hakeem Holmes, newly appointed Vice President of ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM.

Last year, the ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM saw 1.9 million live and virtual attendees, increased revenue, and brought in new and reinvested sponsors – marking the highest revenue and largest audience in its history. The 2023 Festival is excited to bring back new and returning activations steeped in hip-hop culture, to celebrate the community, including nightly concerts at the Superdome, ESSENCE Food & Wine Festival, Beautycon: ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM Edition, AFROPUNK: ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM Edition, ESSENCE Center Stage, ESSENCE Marketplace, New Voices Village, Community Corner, ESSENCE Authors, Global Black Economic Forum and Village, Girl’s United House, ESSENCE Family Day: The Block and more. Tickets for the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM presented by Coca-Cola® are now on sale at www.ESSENCEFestival.com, where consumers can also find festival information & updates. Join the conversation on social @ESSENCEFest or experience the festival virtually on ESSENCE.com. The 2023 ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM is presented by Coca-Cola® and major partners, AT&T, L'Oréal, McDonald’s USA, and Target Corporation.

ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Essence Communications is the number one—and only 100% Black-owned—media, technology, and commerce company at scale dedicated to Black women and communities. With a community of more than 31 million Black women, ESSENCE inspires a global audience through diverse storytelling and immersive original content rooted in Culture, Equity, and Celebration. The brand's multi-platform presence in/ publishing, experiential and online encompasses its namesake magazine; digital, video, and social platforms; television specials; books; and signature live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, ESSENCE Black Women in Sports, Fashion House, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival of CultureTM.

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