ESSENCE, the leading and only 100% Black-owned media, technology and commerce company at scale dedicated to Black women and communities, announces its daytime and nighttime schedule for its virtual 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola—the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience. With the theme “Live Loud,” ESSENCE curated an invaluable hybrid experience that offers the best of in-person and virtual worlds via a celebration of the resilience, power and achievement of Black communities and the omnipresence of our culture. Under strict adherence to guidance from local health agencies, ESSENCE produced live-to-tape activations in early June available only to New Orleans and Louisiana residents honoring essential workers and first responders. As a result, the entire Festival will present a “taste of New Orleans” with a full schedule of can’t-miss content centered around culture, equity and celebration—and a tribute to the city that the Festival has always called home. It will be broadcast on ESSENCEStudios.com and ESSENCE.com–Friday-Sunday over two weekends, June 25-27 and July 2-4. In addition, for the first time, this year’s Festival will host a live Verzuz battle to remember on Thursday, July 1, with soon to be announced guests. For more details, visit ESSENCE.com.
The Festival’s virtual programming will include powerful daytime interactive sessions and star-studded evening concerts and connections. The star-studded lineup will feature performances by: Jazmine Sullivan, DJ Khaled & Friends, Ne-Yo, Amerie, Tank, Kirk Franklin, Davido, Lucky Daye, Carl Thomas, D-Nice and more. The Festival’s powerful interactive sessions will also showcase leading voices throughout the two weekends including: Mary J. Blige, Angela Yee, Michelle Williams, Adrienne Bailon, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Tracy G., Tiana Major9, Big Freedia, Miss Lawrence, Supacent, Shantrelle P. Lewis, Jesseca Dupart and more. See below for highlights across the two weekends:
THURSDAY, JULY 1:
- ESSENCE Dear Black Men (6 PM-8 PM): ESSENCE Studios presents Dear Black Men—an all-male summit that salutes the contributions of our brothers who speak vulnerably about their respective experiences as family men, community advocates and leaders of this generation.
- ESSENCE Festival Verzuz Battle (LIVE at 8 PM-10 PM)
- PITCH, Please! New Voices Pitch Competition (3 PM-4 PM EST): Tune in to PITCH PLEASE!, powered by Pull Up for Change’s Impact Fund and the New Voices Foundation to watch up-and-coming Black women-owned beauty brands make their pitch to change the beauty business game! During this pitch competition, eight Black women founders will compete for cash prizes ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, plus valuable business coaching to launch and execute or grow and scale their beautiful entrepreneurial dreams.
- Coca-Cola Juke Joint Kick Off with D-Nice (6/25 ONLY 5:30pm-6pm EST) : D-Nice kicks off the party with a set of our favorite songs from New Orleans at the historic Howling Wolf Venue.
- ESSENCE Beauty Carnival [6 PM-10 PM (ET)]: Enjoy presentations from industry insiders and top brands on makeup, skin, body, and hair care that provide a fresh perspective on caring for and embracing the hair and skin you’re in. Speakers include: Adrienne Houghton, Melyssa Ford, Claudia Jordan, LisaRaye, Supacent, Miss Lawrence, Big Freedia, Demetria Lucas, India.Arie, Tina Knowles and more.
- ESSENCE GU After Dark [10PM-11 PM (ET)]: Tune in for music curated by ESSENCE’s Girls United brought to you by your favorite rising stars. Featuring performances by Raiche, Tayla Parx & Makenzie and also a world premiere music video by MuMu Fresh.
- Wealth & Power [1 PM-5 PM (ET)]: Discover how to be an agent of change during this virtual town hall. Topics include tools for investing, business, entrepreneurship, policy, voting and more. Speakers include: June Ambrose, Jemele Hill, Tamika Mallory, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, Angela Yee, D-Nice and others. In addition, watch a special segment featuring our Black Female Mayors.
- Entertainment All-Access [5 PM-7 PM (ET)]: Catch your Hollywood faves in Q&A’s and be the first to watch exclusive sneak peeks of the hottest upcoming releases! With appearances by: Gina Torres, Lil Rel, Yvonne Orji, Yandy Smith, Mary J. Blige and more.
- Evening Concert Series [7 PM-10:30 PM (ET)]: ESSENCE® is giving you Saturday Night Vibes with our legendary evening concert series with a must-see lineup (*scroll down for talent line-up.)
- ESSENCE Wellness House [10 AM-1 PM (ET)]: A multi-faceted collective of self-care resources for you! Through our curated sessions, you will walk away equipped with the resources to prioritize your nutrition, spirit, relationships, and more.
- Get Lifted Gospel Sunday Celebration [1 PM-3 PM (ET)]: Get your spirits lifted as the annual all-star Gospel tribute hits your screen for two Sundays back to back! Tune in for powerful words of praise by your favorite spiritual leaders and music by your favorite gospel artists. Performances by Kirk Franklin & Friends, Israel Houghton and more.
WEEK 1 (Saturday Evening Concert Line-up):
- Ha Sizzle
- Teedra Moses
- Lucky Daye
- Jazmine Sullivan
WEEK 2 (Saturday Evening Concert Line-up):
- Carl Thomas
- D-Nice, Ne-Yo and Amerie
- DJ Khaled and Friends
*Artists and schedules are subject to change.
For more information, pick up the July/August “ESSENCE Festival of Culture” split-cover issue, featuring headliner Jazmine Sullivan on the cover. To register or for a full line-up, visit www.essencefestival.com. Join the conversation via social @EssenceFest. The ESSENCE Festival of Culture Presented by Coca-Cola® is executive produced by ESSENCE Festivals LLC, a division of ESSENCE Communications Inc. Sponsors of the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture® include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Estée Lauder, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Walmart as well as premium sponsors AT&T, Disney and UnitedHealthcare.
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, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.
ABOUT THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE™
The ESSENCE Festival of Culture is the world’s largest cultural, music, entertainment and empowerment experience and the global epicenter of Black culture. As a platform to advance global Black culture, economic ownership and inclusion, and community development, it has contributed more than $4 billion to the local New Orleans economy since its inception. It has also created a home for Black communities around the world and routinely attracts more than half a million international attendees over July 4th weekend. In 2019, the Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary–and annually contributes almost $300 million in economic impact to the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana.