Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars to headline Essence Fest

Ms. Jackson also has a new album and tour in the works.

Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars are headlining this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans.

Janet Jackson Bruno Mars
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Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars are headlining this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans.

The Essence Festival of Culture, which starts July 1, coincides with Jackson’s new Black Diamond album and world tour. Jackson’s appearance at the Big Easy festival marks her third time performing. It will be Bruno Mars’ first appearance. Other musicians slated to perform include Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle and Ari Lennox.

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The Essence Festival usually brings more than 500,000 fans to the city during the three-night music portion, according to The New York Daily News. This year the theme is “Own Our Power,” and will be a central focus for discussions, performances and cultural experiences covering beauty, fashion, technology, film, wellness, entrepreneurship and advancing Black culture, among other areas.

Loni Love of The Real will host the festival.

“This is a milestone year for Essence and our community as we celebrate 50 years of creating opportunities for our culture to shine and the role of Black women in making it possible for us to do what no other brand has done,” Michelle Ebanks, Essence CEO said, according to the Daily News.

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“To be able to say that at 50 years, we are Black-owned, diversified across media, technology, commerce and live events, and impacting our culture in new and even deeper ways than ever before is a blessing — and one that comes with a tremendous responsibility to our community to continue to evolve, innovate and transform. That remains our focus and commitment as we work to ensure that we are here serving Black women deeply and advancing Black culture, economic ownership and inclusion globally for the next 50 years,” Ebanks added.

No word yet on when Jackson’s Black Diamond album will drop. But the singer told Jimmy Fallon that she titled her 12th studio album after her own strength.

“Black diamond, it’s the toughest of the stones, of the diamonds, to cut. And I heard that immediately as hard to hurt, to destroy. And in my recent years, I’ve come to realize that I’m incredibly strong,” Jackson told Fallon. “And I see myself as this rock, you know, and just rough around the edges. And just want to share some of my strengths and stories.”