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Essence Music Fest: 3 reasons we're excited

Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and Mary J. Blige headline the three-day music fest in New Orleans

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1 It’s the Best Place to Hear Live R&B
The summer festival season’s most neglected genre takes center stage here, with Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, and Mary J. Blige headlining. Other performers include Jill Scott, Raphael Saadiq, Keri Hilson, and Trey Songz.

2 There’s a Great Mix of Old and New
Long for the days when Gladys Knight was the Empress of Soul, and Earth, Wind & Fire tore up stages nightly? Both will be bringing that old-school groove back, along with rap legends like De La Soul and LL Cool J. Even Gap Band captain Charlie Wilson will be there to make N.O. get up and dance.

3 New Orleans’ Homegrown Talent is Well Represented
Anyone watching Treme on HBO will recognize a bunch of these performers — trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, the Rebirth Brass Band, and ”Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas are just a few of the natives on the impressive bill.