The 2017 ESSENCE Festival is fast approaching and we’ve got plenty in store to make this year’s experience one you won’t soon forget.
ESSENCE Festival 2017 ticket packages are on sale now! For more info about tickets, accommodations and the latest news, visit our Festival page here.
But don’t get it twisted, we’re not new to this!
So while you grab your tickets and assemble your squad to get in formation for this year’s extravaganza, here’s a look back at the many music icons who have blessed the ESSENCE Festival stage over the last 23 years.
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2008: A Badgal On The Rise Brings The House Down
When Rihanna hit the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2008, she was in the early pahse of becoming the global superstar she is today. Her single, ‘Take A Bow’ was at the top of the charts and her 2007 album, Good Girl Gone Bad, had solidified her as a young woman whose inspiring rise would only continue.
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Gerald Levert performed at ESSENCE Festival in 1995, 1999, 2002 and 2003.
The incomparable L Boogie first graced the ESSENCE Festival stages alongside her Fugees group members in 1996, before later returning to headline the Festival as a solo act in 1999.
Ludacris was awarded the key to Atlanta for his philanthropy and dedication to the city.
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Strawberry, Jackson’s sexy alter ego
Move over, Sasha Fierce! After Damita Jo was released, Janet Jackson revealed two alter egos: Damita Jo and Strawberry. In 2004, Jackson described Strawberry to Blender magazine as “the most sexual of them all, the wildest.”
Boyz II Men
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The late blues icon was given the keys to Cleveland in 1968.
Earth, Wind and Fire
Luther Vandross played ESSENCE Fest in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Gospel singer Yolanda Adams has won a total of four Grammys, including Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for her album, Mountain High…Valley Low.
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LL Cool J
Mary J. Blige
Michael Rowe Photography
Brandy Norwood aka Brandy performs onstage during the 6th Annual Black Women In Music event held at Avalon in Hollywood, California.
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Salt n Pepa
Rick Diamond/Getty Imagesfor Dove Awards
The Isley Brothers
Stephen J. Cohen
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Faith Evans performing the Main Stage at Essence Festival 2016
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival
Lamar was awarded the key to Compton by the town’s mayor Aja Brown.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Larry French/Getty Images for Live Nation
Monica performs at ‘Christmas In The City’ Concert at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.