Essence Festival adds Usher to 2024 talent headliners

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — R&B superstar Usher will join the night concert lineup for this summer's 30th anniversary of the Essence Festival of Culture.

Organizers announced late Thursday that Usher, who is no stranger to the event, will perform during the festival, which this year runs July 4-7 at various venues in New Orleans. As the festival marks its three-decade milestone, Usher also celebrates the 20th anniversary of his 2004 album “Confessions,” which helped propel his career.

"The evening concert series at the Caesar's Superdome will be rooted in legacy and evolution, to represent the festival's journey throughout its rich history to today," the festival said in a news release.

Usher first performed at Essence in 1998 and has returned to the festival multiple times.

Janet Jackson, Victoria Monet, Birdman & Friends and festival veteran Charlie Wilson will also appear. The four-day event will close with the return of the all-white party and a special tribute to Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly, that's being curated by producer and songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox, organizers said.

In addition to the nightly concerts inside the Superdome, the festival will include programming on networking, finance, careers, wellness, fashion, beauty and more at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other venues citywide.

Launched in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine, the festival has evolved into the world’s largest celebration of Black women, culture and communities, convening more than 530,000 people annually over the July Fourth weekend in New Orleans, Essence Communications Inc. has said.