Essence Festival 25th Anniversary: Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, H.E.R., Normani, Nas Set to Perform

Missy Elliot
Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Missy Elliot performs during the 2018 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The Essence Festival is pulling out all the stops to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Pharrell, H.E.R., Teyana Taylor, Normani and Queen Naija are among the first wave of artists being announced for its 2019 lineup. The three-night concert series returns to New Orleans July 4-7.  

Boasting more than 80 acts, the 2019 Essence Festival will also feature special performances marking the 25th anniversary of two seminal albums: Blige’s My Life and Nas’ Illmatic. In addition, the festival will also salute the career of Frankie Beverly (Maze).

Rounding out the musical homecoming of established and emerging stars at the Louisiana Superdome thus far is a slate that includes Anthony Hamilton, City Girls, Davido, Big Freedia, Ledisi, Jermaine Dupri, Jacquees, Nao, PJ Morton, El DeBarge, Sheila E., Big Daddy Kane and Teddy Riley. Loni Love (TV’s The Real) will host with music by D-Nice.\

In a press release announcing the 2019 Essence Festival, Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks said, “When the Essence Festival was founded 25 years ago, it marked a pivotal moment of vision and reverence -- a critical acknowledgement of and investment in the power of our culture. In the years since, it has set a standard that many other festivals have aspired to and today, the ESSENCE Festival has grown to represent an annual homecoming for black artists from across the globe. In honor of our 25th anniversary, more than 25 artists per night over three epic nights will come together to mount the world’s largest and most extraordinary cultural celebration.”

More acts will be revealed in the coming weeks. Sponsors include AT&T, Ford, Coca-Cola, State Farm, Walmart and McDonald’s. For 2019 Essence Festival updates, including information about ticket sales and accommodations, visit Essence.com/festival.