Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion among 2023 Essence Festival headliners

Event celebrates 50 years of hip hop

The 2023 Essence Festival of Culture, presented by Coca-Cola is back in New Orleans for its 29th year and a celebration of 50 years of hip hop. From fresh fits to lyrical hits, the in-person and virtual experience will both explore and showcase how hip hop has impacted every aspect of global culture through daytime programming and nightly shows.

Ever a hallmark of Essence Festival of Culture are the live evening performances, which feature some of the most award-winning hip-hop artists to rock the mic over the last 50 years including headliners Ms. Lauryn Hill, who will give a special performance of the 5x Grammy-winning album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in recognition of its 25th anniversary, and 3x Grammy Award-winning artist, Megan Thee Stallion. Doug E. Fresh will curate a special performance of hip hop pioneers, and in honor of So So Def’s 30th anniversary, Grammy Award-winning super producer and label founder, Jermaine Dupri, will deliver a special performance with some of the biggest names in hip hop to come out of Atlanta. Other artists joining the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture stage include Wizkid, Monica, Coco Jones and Kizz Daniel. Fans can look forward to laughs every night with evening hosts Deon Cole, Affion Crockett, Spice Adams and Janelle James, as well as sounds by DJ Spinderella, DJ Kid Capri and DJ Clark Kent. Additional talent and experiences will be announced soon.

Like hip hop, the Essence Festival of Culture is more than just the music. Attendees will embark on a celebration of hip hop’s rich history across stages and experiences throughout the four-day event, which will kick-off on June 29th. The multi-generational experience entrenched in culture, equity, and celebration extends Essence’s long-standing commitment to creating opportunities that will economically benefit and contribute to local Black-owned businesses.

Last year, the event saw 1.9 million live and virtual attendees, increased revenue, and brought in new and reinvested sponsors, marking the highest revenue and largest audience in its history. The 2023 festival is excited to bring back new and returning activations steeped in hip hop culture, to celebrate the community, including nightly concerts at the Superdome, Essence Food & Wine Festival, Beautycon: Essence Festival of Culture Edition, AfroPunk: Essence Festival of Culture Edition, Essence Center Stage, Essence Marketplace, New Voices Village, Community Corner, Essence Authors, Global Black Economic Forum and Village, Girl’s United House, Essence Family Day: The Block and more. The 2023 Essence Festival of Culture is presented by Coca-Cola and major partners, AT&T, L’Oréal, McDonald’s USA and Target Corporation.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: