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ESSENCE FEST WEEKEND KICKS OFF A CELEBRATION OF 'THE ROOTS OF R&B'



The ultimate  women's empowerment, cultural celebration and black music experience --THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL -- get underway today.

Multi-platinum superstar Jennifer Hudson will make her debut Festival performance, joined by R&B/Funk icon Chaka Khan and the reunion of New Edition at the 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL celebrating the "Roots of R&B" July 1, 2 and 3 in New OrleansKem, Miguel, Naughty By Nature, Doug E. Fresh, Marsha Ambrosius, Mavis Staples, Eric Benet, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Trin-i-tee 5:7 and Brian Courtney Wilson, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, Boyz II Men, Fantasia, George Clinton, Macy Gray and more round out an incredible performance line-up.

"The ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is bringing together the world's best entertainers representing all genres of R&B -- from the inimitable Jennifer Hudson to the iconic Chaka Khan," said Michelle Ebanks, President, ESSENCE Communications Inc. "We are celebrating the Roots of R&B this Fourth of July weekend!  From the powerhouse performances on the main stage to the more intimate jam sessions in the Superlounges, the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL offers blues, funk, classics and neo-soul that our audience craves to renew their spirit and connect to their joy."





Now in its 17th year, the ultimate destination for entertainment and inspiration hosted over 400,000 attendees last year. What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events" by Advertising Age.  The ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture.  Throughout its history, the Festival has featured an array of performers including Alicia Keys, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams, among others.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit http://www.essence.com/festival. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencemusic #EMF2011 and become a fan of 2011 Essence Music Festival on Facebook.
The presenting sponsor for the 2011 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola.  Major sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, U.S. Army, Verizon and Walmart; official sponsors include CNN, My Black is Beautiful, State Farm and Visa Pre-Paid.
The 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).
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