The last two decades have taught us much about the power of women in music and ESSENCE Festival has proudly been a part of keeping that conversation going, while also providing our ladies with a unique platform to shine each year.
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The presence of women in Hip Hop specifically has continued to evolve with each passing year and there’s certainly been no shortage of ladies who know how to rock the mic at ESSENCE Festival! As we continue to celebrate these fearless trailblazers and prepare to welcome Remy Ma to the Festival for the first time this July, here’s a look back at all of the women in Hip Hop who have graced the ESSENCE Festival stage over the years.
Queen Latifah, 47
The legendary rapper and actress took control her health back in the early ’00s, and has since credited diet and exercise as the key to longevity.
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.
Another iconic woman in Hip Hop, MC Lyte lit up the ESSENCE Festival stage as part of our “Pioneers of Hip Hop” tribute in 2006, before later returning to perform in 2007, 2011 and 2016.
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DJ Soul Sister
The legendary DJ Soul Sister first graced the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2008 and returned multiple times afterward in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Salt N’ Pepa
Trailblazing Hip Hop supergroup Salt-N-Pepa reunited to perform their endless catalogue of hits and fan favorites at the 2009 ESSENCE Festival.
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Alternative Hip Hop conglomerate Arrested Development, which includes two female members Tasha Larae and Montshoe Eshe, graced the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2010.
Hip Hop visionary Missy Elliot blessed the ESSENCE Festival stage with a performance of her classics in 2012.
Missy Elliot/ Facebook
Ruff Ryders First Lady and actress Eve did her thing on stage at the 2012 ESSENCE Festival.
TDE songstress and rapper SZA made her mark on the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2015.
Detroit native Dej Loaf brought her A-game to the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2016.
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Rising rapstress and songstress Tink also rocked the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2016.
British-Jamaican rapper Lady Leshurr shut down the ESSENCE Festival stage with an electrifying performance in 2016.
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Talented UK rapstress Little Simz lit up the ESSENCE Festival stage in 2016.
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Remy Ma will grace the ESSENCE Festival stage for the first time this year.
Kevin Winter/BETKevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET