The 19th annual celebration of black music and culture will be held July 4-7 at the Superdome and the nearby convention center, where speakers like Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. John Lewis, a congressman and civil rights leader, will give lectures, the New York Times reports.
Essence Festival 2012: The 10 Best Performances
Other performers include New Edition, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane and Charlie Wilson, while smaller stages will feature Anthony David, Bridget Kelly, Les Nubians Mint Condition and the new jack swing stalwarts, Blackstreet.
Maxwell's performance will come a year after the neo-soul star had to cancel a comeback tour due to vocal hemorrhaging. He is currently working on his fifth studio album, "SUMMERS,'" expected to be released later this year.
The festival began as a one-time event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine.
Last year's event featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige as well as D'Angelo, Dru Hill, Charlie Wilson and Melanie Fiona. Check out our list of the 10 best performances from the event here.