The nightly schedule of the 2016 Essence Festival in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has been released. That schedule includes the addition of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Common and Andra Day to the previously announced roster.
On Friday, July 1, Maxwell will close out the main stage, following New Edition, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Tyrese, Faith Evans and Avery Wilson. The four secondary “superlounge” stages on opening night will host Digable Planets, Daley, Eric Bellinger, Lion Babe, The Internet, Tweet, Mali Music, V. Bozeman, Kelly Price, Zakes Bantwini and Skye Wanda.
On Saturday, July 2, Mariah Carey makes her Essence debut to headline the main stage. She faces the unenviable task of following Essence favorite “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, plus Common -- who also performed at the 2015 Essence -- Estelle and Jeremih. Estelle will also curate a show in a superlounge with Wizkid and Lady Leshurr. Performers in the other superlounges on July 2 include Doug E. Fresh, Tink, Jidenna, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, St. Beauty, Lalah Hathaway and Judith Hill.
On Sunday, July 3, acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar will, for the second consecutive year, be the last main stage act on the last night of Essence. He’ll hit after Combs, who canceled his only previously scheduled Essence appearance in 2003. Assuming he makes it this year, Combs’ Family will include past and present artists from his Bad Boy label. Ciara and the newly added Andra Day are also on the main stage July 3.
Day has previously performed in an Essence superlounge, but will now graduate to the big stage in the main room of the Superdome. “I’ve never been on a stage like that, so I don’t even know what to expect,” she said in an interview before being officially announced as an Essence performer. “But the festival itself is pretty magical. I try not to get too nervous, and things tend to work out.”
The final night’s superlounge acts are MC Lyte, Dej Loaf, Cyril Neville, Leon Bridges, Kehlani, the New Breed Brass Band, Robert Glasper, BJ the Chicago Kid, the Brand New Heavies and Little Simz.
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