Ms. Lauryn Hill, Summer Walker and Muni Long will be among the all-star lineup when Mary J. Blige and Pepsi bring the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit back to Atlanta this year. The second annual event, in partnership with Live Nation Urban, will take place May 11-14.
Highlights of the upcoming festival and summit include two nights of music at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. In celebration of Hip-Hop 50, a special “MJB B-Sides” set will feature rarely performed hits by the nine-time Grammy Award winner and friends — including Jodeci, Busta Rhymes, Jeezy, Jadakiss, Method Man and DJ Drama — on May 12. The following evening will be an R&B showcase starring Hill, Walker, Long, Lucky Daye and Coco Jones. Bookending those evenings will be a City Winery performance by Glasper on May 11; May 14’s lineup includes a gospel brunch and concert followed by that evening’s closing event, The Purpose Ball. This newly established festival event in honor of the LGBTQAI community will feature a special performance by Saucy Santana. Comedian-actor Mike Epps will headline a comedy night showcase that Sunday as well.
Making the announcement in tandem with the Wednesday (March 8) global celebration of International Women’s Day, Strength of a Woman founder Blige said in a statement, “Having the opportunity to continue to uplift, inspire and build amongst a community of women is the reason why we created this festival. I’m so grateful for all of the support from our performers and participants and, of course, Live Nation Urban, Pepsi and our additional partners who are committed to celebrating and creating community for Black women.”
In keeping with its debut last year, the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit will also present impactful and empowering programming for BIPOC women. These workshops will address subjects such as wellness, technology, financial literacy and beauty. Returning and new sponsors include Mielle Organics, CVS Health and Twitch.
In addition to Blige, the all Black and women-helmed festival and summit team includes her longtime business partner Nicole Jackson, vp of MJB Inc., and Ashaunna Ayars, founder/chief marketing officer of The Ayars Agency. “The popularity and impact of the  inaugural Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit successfully showed how and why Black women are the blueprint for cultural relevancy and inclusion,” stated Jackson in a press release. “Being able to look back and see the global reach the festival had through our livestream and billions of media impressions is confirmation that we are filling a void in the festival space. Mary, Ashaunna and myself are overjoyed to be back in Atlanta again and look forward to continued expansion in our programming and partnerships.”
Added Kent Montgomery, senior vp, PepsiCo Industry Relations and Multicultural Development, in the same release, “The Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit is a testament to the power of amplifying Black women and their voices – starting with Mary, someone whose vision and presence has been instrumental in its success. As a brand and company rooted in celebrating culture and uplifting communities, we are thrilled to show our support and continue to provide new ways to elevate the festival experience for guests throughout the expanded weekend of activities, all while highlighting and supporting the remarkable women of the Atlanta community.”
Presale tickets will become available at noon ET March 8; general on-sale begins on March 10. For ticket information, visit: www.soawfestival.com.