Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks, Essence Ventures Founder & Chairman Richelieu Dennis, and Essence Chief Content & Creative Officer Moana Luu pose onstage during the 2020 13th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks, Essence Ventures Founder & Chairman Richelieu Dennis, and Essence Chief Content & Creative Officer Moana Luu pose onstage during the 2020 13th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon on February 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo: Rich Polk (Getty Images)

The show must not go on—at least for the time being.

The coronavirus crisis has gotten everybody and everything fucked up right now, and after a couple of weeks of evaluating how this global pandemic would impact business, the producers of the Essence Festival decided to postpone its annual party with a purpose in New Orleans during the 4th of July holiday.

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“Based on developments over the past couple of weeks, including updates from our city and health partners, we are officially announcing that we will move the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture closer to the fall,” read a statement from Essence Communications issued on Friday.

“As we previously indicated, we were already moving forward with identifying and securing alternate dates and will be prepared to announce those shortly. We are excited to share that previously announced talent will remain in our line-up for the postponed dates, and we will honor all tickets sold for prior scheduled performances,” the statement continued.

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Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson were initially set to headline the festival, alongside a lineup that included Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, Raphael Saadiq, Doug E. Fresh, Loni Love, Tamia, Estelle, Ari Lennox and Summer Walker, among many others.

Presented by Coca-Cola, the theme for this year’s event was “Own Our Power.”

Marking the 50th anniversary of Essence magazine, the festival—which originated in 1995—was expanding for the first time from three to five days (July 1-5) in New Orleans.

“We greatly appreciate the Essence family for working with the City of New Orleans and Louisiana as we face this ongoing public health crisis,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in the statement. “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Essence family and look forward to continuing the celebration later this year.”

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