ESSENCE Festival of Culture is returning to its original in-person format after two consecutive virtual experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Essence Communications, Inc. announced Wednesday (Dec. 15) that ESSENCE Festival will be live in New Orleans from June 30 to July 3. For 2022’s festivities, Essence aims to celebrate the culture and resilience of the Black community with the theme “It’s the Black Joy for Me!”
As a continuation of its successful virtual transition, the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture will again include digital components for attendees hoping to participate worldwide.
“The reimagining of the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans as a ‘phygital’ — fully physical and fully digital — experience will be epic,” Caroline Wanga, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc., said in a statement. “Given what we have collectively experienced over the last two years, the opportunity to convene and uplift in the spirit of culture, equity, celebration and joy is more of a privilege and honor than it has ever been.”
“We look forward to our homecoming in New Orleans and to strengthening our impact as a cornerstone of Black culture, entrepreneurship and economic inclusion, working always to serve Black women and communities deeply,” she added.
The 2022 ESSENCE Festival will have nearly one million square feet of space for empowerment programming — focused on networking, finance, career, wellness, fashion, beauty and more — at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, nightly concerts at Caesars Superdome and other activations in venues throughout New Orleans. The virtual audience will experience live streaming of select on-the-ground activities and exclusive digital content.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement, “Essence brings so much to our city and our economy and I can’t wait to see what this year has to offer. New Orleans and the ESSENCE Festival are inextricably linked through our remarkable history and our steadfast focus on and commitment to culture, community, and economic inclusion. We look forward to continuing this partnership to create an even deeper legacy of impact and inclusion for our city and for all who will join us in July to make this experience the best yet.”
Since its inception in 1995 as a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of ESSENCE magazine, ESSENCE Festival has grown to become the largest celebration of Black women. In years past, the lineup of performers have included hitmakers Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars, Patti LaBelle, Summer Walker, Saweetie, Janelle Monae, Ari Lennox and more.
Though the 2022 lineup hasn’t been revealed, additional festival details regarding ticketing, scheduling and COVID protocols will be announced in January at the official website for Essence.