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Essence Festival Draws More Than Half A Million Attendees For 25th Anniversary

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The 2019 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola® attracted more than half a million attendees to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend, and of course HipHollywood was there soaking up all the action. For their historic 25th anniversary celebration Essence pulled out all the stops. Here’s just some of the highlights.

Michelle Obama and Gayle King speak onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Forever First Lady Michelle Obama commanded the main stage at the sold-out Superdome for her first ESSENCE Festival headline appearance.

California Senator Kamala Harris speaks during the 25th Essence Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker speaks at the 25th Essence Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

Throughout the weekend, seven 2020 Presidential candidates took the stage to address the largest annual gathering of Black women in the nation including Senator Cory Book, Senator Kamala Harris and Beto O’ Rourke.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 06: Beto O’Rourke speaks at the 25th Essence Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

In addition, the debut of the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum brought attendees together with CEOs from Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, Kaiser Permanente, Square, TDJ Enterprises and more.

(L-R) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Rev. Al Sharpton, Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks and Essence Festival Owner Richelieu Dennis pose for a photo at the 25th Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

And if that wasn’t enough the festival name officially changed to the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JULY 06: Mary J. Blige performs at 2019 Essence Festival – Day 2 at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.(Photo by Prince williams/Filmmagic)

Then of course there were the performances. This year some 100 artists hit the stage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome including Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, H.E.R, Nas, Pharrell, Patti LaBelle, and Jermaine Dupree.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 07: Pharrel Williams performs during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 07, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 07: Jermaine Dupri performs during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 07, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

More than 300 celebrities, leaders and influencers participated in the Festival’s daytime experience including Rev. Al Sharpton, Ava Duvernay, Tyler Perry, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Common and Iyanla Vanzant to name a few.

U.S Representative Maxine Waters speaks at the 25th Essence Music Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)

And it all would not have been possible without the Sponsors including presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors AT&T, Disney, McDonald’s, State Farm, Walmart and Ford who hosted a special ride and drive for participants and art installations showcasing the work of black female visual artists.

(L-R) Dee Guerrero, Multicultural Marketing Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company, Detroit based artist Sydney G. James and Raj Register, Head of Brand Strategy and Growth Audience Marketing, Ford Motor Company.

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