NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The first of four nights spotlighting R&B music has kicked off with performances at the Essence Music Festival by industry newcomers, including the Disney Channel's Coco Jones and rapper Diggy Simmons.
Opening day was all about recognizing the young and rising stars to the music scene, while the rest of the weekend will be geared toward veterans in the industry, including Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson and Mary J. Blige.
For the first time in more than two years, fans will also get to see rap artist Eve, who isn't calling her Essence appearance a "comeback," but rather a "reintroduction."
As in years past, the festival tackles themes of importance to African Americans, such as education and the coming presidential election. Essence has been held every Independence Day weekend since its inception in 1995.