The first lineup announcement for the 2019 ESSENCE Festival is just around the corner!
Click HERE to get tickets for ESSENCE Festival 2019, celebrating 25 years of moving the culture forward!
If you’re attending the Festival for the first time, or just curious about the type of unforgettable moments we have in store as we prepare to celebrate 25 years in 2019, look no further than some of the show-stopping moments that happened at last year’s Festival.
*FAIR WARNING: What we have in store for this year is EVEN bigger.*
Scroll through for a look at some of the amazing moments that made last year’s Festival unforgettable and keep your eye on ESSENCE.com for this year’s lineup announcement in the coming weeks.
See you in NOLA!
The Return Of Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson returned to headline ESSENCE Fest and lit up the stage with an unforgettable performance. She also spoke for the first time publicly about the passing of her father, who was laid to rest just days before she hit the stage.
Remy Ma And Meek Mill Join Lester Holt To Talk Prison Reform
Remy Ma and Meek Mill sharing the stage together with Lester Holt in conversation for the first time ever to speak out about the need for criminal justice reform based on their recent personal experiences was certainly a moment in time.
Yes, Girl! Live With Michael B. Jordan
Black Panther and Creed II star, Michael B. Jordan, had all eyes on him as he joined the hosts of our ESSENCE Yes, Girl! Podcast for an intimate live taping to chat about everything from his career to his cooking skills to his workout routine and more.
Black Women Mayors Unite
In what proved to be a historic mid-term election year for Black women and women in general, having four of the most resilient Black women mayors share a stage to discuss the work ahead was definitely a moment we'll never forget.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Queen Latifah Puts The Ladies First And Makes Her Mainstage Debut
After hitting the Festival mainstage for the very first time with her own performance, Queen Latifah took it to the next level with a "Ladies First" set that saw everyone from Missy Elliott to Brandy to Salt-N-Pepa to Remy Ma to Yoyo and more light up the stage.
Disney Gives Back In A Major Way
As part of our ESSENCE Festival Day Of Service, Disney surprised the director of the New Orleans APEX Youth Center and her husband with a $25,000 check for all of their hard work in keeping the center running as a space for local youth.
Idris Elba aka DJ Dris Makes His ESSENCE Fest Debut
Emmy Award-winning actor, professional DJ and our resident Hollywood bae, Idris Elba, had the crowd on 100 when he hit the stage for the very first time to give Festival-goers a taste of how he gets down behind the turntables.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
The Launch Of The ESSENCE E-Suite
The ESSENCE E-Suite launch hosted an exclusive gathering of entrepreneurs, career-driven women and business leaders to connect in a premiere social hub designed to help attendees expand their network of women power players. The ticketed 2-day affair provided guests with unprecedented access to experts in the areas of entrepreneurship, career, personal finance and technology, as well as panels, keynotes, and intimate conversations.
Big Freedia Makes Her ESSENCE Fest Performance Debut
Performing not just one, but two shows for her first-ever ESSENCE Festival set, hometown favorite and New Orleans bounce queen, Big Freedia, kept the party going like no other.
Clips & Conversation With The Stars Of "The Bobby Brown Story"
It was a classic ESSENCE Festival moment that saw the audience erupt with cheers when none other than Bobby Brown himself made a surprise appearance during a preview of "The Bobby Brown Story" followed by a discussion with the series' stars, Woody McClain and Gabrielle Dennis.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell Makes Festival History
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell made ESSENCE Festival history as the city's first Black woman mayor in both NOLA history and in the Festival's 24-year history.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
H.E.R. Brings The Soul
Multi-talented R&B songstress and musician H.E.R brought her talents to the ESSENCE Festival stage for the first time and per usual, she left the crowd in awe.
Sybrina Fulton And Tracy Martin Discuss 'Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story'
The 2018 Festival audience had a chance to see the first episode of the groundbreaking docuseries, Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story before it aired on television. Following the screening, Trayvon's parents took the stage for an emotional and eye-opening discussion about participating in the docuseries, life without their son, the work ahead, and more.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Fantasia Brings Her Brother Out On Stage
If you were in the audience when Fantasia shared her brother's story about surviving a near-death accident and then closed out the moment by bringing him on stage as a surprise, it's safe to say it was a moment you'll never forget!
The Cast Of 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Leave Their Mark
Months before the Oscar-worthy film hit theaters, the talented cast of and director of the If Beale Street Could Talk film adaption stopped by ESSENCE Fest to dish on filming, the extraordinary Black love story within the movie and much more.
Michael Rowe Photography
Daniel Caesar Makes His ESSENCE Festival Debut
Wuzzam Supa aka Supacent Bring Her Hustle To The Stage
NOLA-born entrepreneur and million-dollar woman, Wuzzam Supa, graced the ESSENCE Festival Beauty Carnival stage to dish on the secrets behind her hustle and share her inspiring journey to success.
Teddy Riley & Friends Celebrate 30 Years Of New Jack Swing
Teddy Riley brought an all-star lineup of Hip Hop & R&B greats to the stage as he put on the ultimate show to celebrate 30 years of the iconic New Jack Swing sound he created. His set included performances from SWV, Ginuwine, Blackstreet, MC Lyte, Keith Sweat, Wreckx-n-Effect and many more.
The Smollett Family Gives ESSENCE Fest A Seat At Their Family Table
Jake and Jazz Smollett joined us to chat about the new Smollett family cookbook, appropriately titled, The Family Table: Recipes And Moments From a Nomadic Life.
'The Hate U Give' Family Shines
The author, director, and stars of The Hate U Give joined us for an in-depth chat about the timely film adaptation ahead of its' release.