Essence Festival 2017: Everything We Know So Far

Essence Festival 2017 is just around the corner and you should definitely be getting excited. The festival will last from June 29th to July 2nd and tickets are sure to sell out fast. If you haven’t bought your tickets and made your travel arrangements yet, now would be the time to start. Whether you’re still debating, or already ready for Essence Festival, here is what we know so far about this amazing event. 


While we can only imagine what the celebrities will wear, attendees will arrive dressed to impress. Make sure to look your best and let your creativity and voice shine, even as an audience member. After all, the Essence Festival is meant to promote expression. 

For the ladies, if you’re stuck, you can pay tribute to your favorite celebrities with your outfit or hairstyle. You can achieve virtually any look with hair extensions from Indique. Paying tribute to Chaka Khan for example? Add volume with curly hair extensions. 

Gentlemen, if you aren’t sure what to wear it is best to suit up, but you can also take inspiration from popular trends and wear a blazer over a matching t-shirt. 

When in doubt, or just for fun, you should definitely take a peek at last year’s photos. You’ll find plenty of fashion ideas- from florals to lace- and have a ton of fun checking out your favorite idols. Remember that you will need to bring several outfits to the festival – which will last for three days- which means that you have a decent excuse to do some shopping. When unsure, go for a mix of elegant and original.

The Artists

This year’s Essence Festival will be packed with amazing talent. Here are just a few of the artists to look forward to in 2017. 

1. Host, Roy Wood Jr: Comedy Central’s comedian best known for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Roy Wood Jr will be hosting this year’s Essence Festival. Wood is sure to keep the party going all three nights!

2. Diana Ross: Leading the lineup will be legendary, multitalented, performer Diana Ross. After over fifty years in the entertainment industry and multiple awards, this icon’s performance is sure to be a treat. 

3. John Legend: Award-winning singer and songwriter, John Legend is known for his commitment to public service and for tirelessly working to change the dialog about prison systems in America. The music legend has become a household name and his performance is highly anticipated. 

4. Mary J Blige: After nine Grammy Awards and eight platinum albums, Mary J. Blige remains an inspiration to aspiring singers worldwide. Rumor has it that the starlet may be heading a night with an all-female cast. 

5. Chaka Khan: Ten-time Grammy Award winner and music legend Chaka Khan will be gracing the stage. Given that the singer has an album due to be released in 2017, she may just provide a sneak peek during the Essence Festival. 

6. Chance The Rapper: This Chicago native, singer, songwriter, and producer will be wearing his game face and bringing his amazing talent to the festival. 

7. Solange: Having founded her own record label, which just released the chart-topping album, A Seat at the Table, Solange is nowhere near done. Maybe you’ll get to hear a bit of the album live. 

8. Master P: Hip hop icon, businessman and philanthropist Percy Miller will be also be contributing to the lineup. 

9. Jill Scott: A true renaissance woman, Scott has a hand in a variety of projects. The singer, actress, and designer will be performing at the festival just after her tour, which begins June 23rd. 

10. India Arie: Another multi-award winning singer who will be gracing the stage. With a number of extremely successful albums under her belt, everyone is wondering which of her numbers India Arie will perform this year. 

The Speakers

The Essence Awards distinguish themselves year after year with inspirational speakers and leaders from all walks of life. Here is a sneak peek at the 2017 lineup: 

1. Congresswoman Maxine Waters: The Congresswoman, who serves in California’s 43rd district has distinguished herself with over 40 years of public service. Congresswoman Waters is also the first African-American Ranking Member to serve on the House Financial Services Committee. 

2. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: Ordained minister and professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson is one of the most recognized intellectuals in the United States.

3. Phaedra Parks: Multitalented actress, activist, author and mother of two, Phaedra Parks can do it all. Parks is passionate about social justice and does countless good through her Phaedra foundation. 

4. Tamika Mallory: Civil rights champion, social justice activist and feminist, Tamika Mallory will be speaking to inspire equality and a better tomorrow. 

5. Luvvie Ajayi: Author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual, Luvvie Ajayi is also a speaker and activist. If you are a fan, this may be your chance to get your copy signed. 

6. Jillian Hervey: Fierce and beautiful singer and dancer Jillian Hervey will be speaking, rather than performing during the festival.

7. Vernon Francois: Hairstylist extraordinaire, Vernon Francois is known for his work with textured hair. He may have some keen beauty tips, or something else entirely- only one way to find out! 

8. Charles Divins: Actor, entertainment host, and entrepreneur, Charles Divins will also be making an inspirational appearance. 

9. Asha Bandele: Bandele is best known for her work as an author and journalist, as well as her involvement in the battle to end mass incarceration.

10. Zuri Hall: Emmy Award winner Zuri Hall will bring her energy and passion; inspiring the masses for this year's show. 

With plenty to experience both at the festival and in the city of New Orleans, you will want to plan ahead and give yourself time to explore. The Essence Festival tickets guarantee you free daytime experiences at the New Orleans Earnest N. Morial Convention Center and there is a handy app that you can download to help make sure that you can do it all! Get ready for an amazing Essence Festival 2017!