Mary J. Blige Confirmed For 2010 Essence Music Fest
Mary J. Blige at the 2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors in New York. Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images Entertainment

Mary J. Blige will return to New Orleans as this year as a headlining performer and official spokesperson of the annual Essence Music Festival, set for the weekend of July 2. Blige will be joining other entertainers, including artists, speakers, authors and community leaders.

"We're thrilled to have Mary J. Blige on board for this year's Essence Music Festival," Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc., said in a statement. "Her history with the Essence brand, both with the festival and the magazine, makes her a great spokesperson for this year's festival and we're looking forward to working with her over the next few months."

Blige has performed eight times at Essence -- last in 2008 -- and this year will help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Essence Magazine. Past performers include: Alicia Keys, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Kanye West, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams.

Special weekend ticket packages and other information about the event can be found on essence.com.