Michelle Obama To Make Her Essence Festival Debut In New Orleans

The festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Michelle Obama is slated to join the Essence Festival lineup for the first time ever, Essence magazine announced on Thursday. 

The former first lady is scheduled to participate in a keynote conversation on Saturday, July 6, at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. 

“As inspiring and aspirational as it is relatable, Mrs. Obama’s story – told on her own terms – is a remarkable example and celebration of everyday Black women who accomplish extraordinary things, who confront challenges with courage and truth, and who remind us that all things are possible when we support one another,” Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks said in a statement.

Obama, whose memoir Becoming became the bestselling book of 2018, closed out her book tour in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this week. Penguin Random House announced last year that more than 2 million copies of the book were sold in the U.S. and Canada alone. Obama will discuss her record-breaking memoir on the festival stage, according to the festival’s official Instagram account. 

Obama’s candid memoir included details about her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, the demands of motherhood and her career, and the pressures she faced while serving as America’s first black first lady.

The Essence Festival, which will be hosted this year by “The Real” co-host and comedian Loni Love, serves as an “annual homecoming for Black artists from across the globe,” Ebanks said in a February statement. “When the Essence Festival was founded 25 years ago, it marked a pivotal moment of vision and reverence – a critical acknowledgement of and investment in the power of our culture.”

The three-day event, which will take place from July 4 through July 7, will include various conferences, forums, exhibitions and a concert lineup featuring performers like Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Big Freedia, Teyana Taylor and Timbaland. 

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