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Kanye, Mary J. Blige to Headline 17th Annual Essence Music Fest

Kevin Mazur, WireImage

Kanye West and Mary J. Blige have been announced as the headliners of the 17th Annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans this July.

The R&B/Soul festival, which takes place July 1-3 at the Louisiana Superdome, will also feature performances by Jill Scott, Trey Songz, Fantasia, Charlie Wilson and Boyz II Men on the main stage, while legendary artists like George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Mavis Staples, Stephanie Mills, Alexander O’Neal & Cherrelle and Mint Condition will perform on smaller stages alongside the newer school of performers that includes Dwele, Macy Gray, Tank, rapper MC Lyte and the Soul Rebels and Rebirth Brass Bands.

“We listen to our audience and these are the musicians they want to see under one roof for three days,” a rep for Essence said, regarding their lineup choices. “Our mission this year was to celebrate community through the prism of the art form that continues to tell our readers’ stories: R&B.”

Leading up to the festival, Essence magazine will also be running a talent search called Essence R&B Star, the winner of which will receive a one-year management contract and a chance to perform at the Essence Music Festival.

3-day passes for the festival are currently on sale. For more information, visit

Watch Mary J. Blige’s ‘Stronger’
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