Etta James was known for her fiesty personality and big voice. The singer was 73 years old when she lost her battle to Leukemia in 2012. She performed at the 1996 and 2002 ESSENCE Festivals.
With hits like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby”, singer-songwriter Barry White was a legend within R&B and disco. He performed at the second annual ESSENCE Festival in 1996. White passed away in 2003.
There was no stronger love than that of Ashford & Simpson. The “Reunited” duo sparkled on stage together, and our hearts went out to the Ashford family when Nickolas died in 2011 of complications from throat cancer.
Singer. Dancer. Poet. Author. Writer. Teacher. Dr. Maya Angelou used her life to teach all across the world. She made a special appearance at the 1997 ESSENCE Festival.
Teena Marie’s soulful voice earned her the title “Ivory Queen of Soul”. Before dying of a seizure at 54 in 2010, she made a lot of noise when she performed at the 2009 ESSENCE Festival.
TheChicago jazz musician and poet who famously told the world “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” passed away in 2011. He blessed the festival with his presence in 2008.