Essence Fest 2023 Celebrates the Resilience of Previous and Current Ladies in Hip-Hop

The Essence Competition of Tradition, higher referred to as Essence Fest, has described itself as “the get together with a function” since its inception in 1994. Rooted in Black ladies throughout spectrums of tradition, politics, magnificence, and love, it is turn into a ceremony of passage to attend and expertise the five-day New Orleans occasion.

This yr, the competition coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of hip-hop, and clearly, Essence’s mission is to have fun the ladies who’ve made invaluable contributions to the style.

“We’re at all times excited to work with Essence, however this yr is much more particular as we have fun hip-hop’s fiftieth anniversary,” legendary rap trio Salt-N-Pepa mentioned. “Essence Competition of Tradition has at all times put Black ladies on the forefront, so it was no shock to us once they made the choice to make this yr’s competition all concerning the women.”

With all-women headliners Ms. Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, and Megan Thee Stallion, in addition to a curated set by Angie Martinez and Spinderella serving as one of many visitor DJs for the occasion, Essence intends to carry house and nurture a way of group this weekend.

“We’re transferring ahead,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell mentioned. “And with transferring ahead, we all know the long run is feminine.” It is a theme that shall be reiterated all through the week, from the performances to the panels scheduled for Friday by means of Sunday.

The legendary lineup not solely blurs the generational dividers which have lengthy stood inside hip-hop, however makes a transparent assertion on collective unity and overcoming adversity.

The three headliners have all handled some stage of criticism and mock towards their physique picture, private relationships, psychological well being, and bodily well-being. Ms. Lauryn Hill famously confronted criticism for selecting motherhood over trade success, and Missy Elliott has typically spoke about how her weight and pores and skin tone impacted her profession from the very starting. Dropping out of the limelight within the early 2000s attributable to her struggles with Graves’ Illness (an immune dysfunction that may affect weight) and rumors of her sexuality, Missy has handled a lot from the trade for many years.

Megan Thee Stallion, the third and remaining headliner of Essence Fest, is a newer survivor of scrutiny in hip-hop.

Criticism for embracing her femininity in a largely masculine-led style, and dealing with fixed mockery and skepticism concerning her being shot by Tory Lanez (whilst he’s been convicted), led Megan to retreat from the highlight and give attention to her restoration.

All three ladies, changemakers of their respective subsets of hip-hop, made their returns to the world stage this yr, signifying the energy and unity that emerge when Black ladies take possession over their lives. Ms. Lauryn Hill has carried out at festivals to have fun the twenty fifth anniversary of her iconic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Missy Elliott gave a career-defining efficiency on the Lovers and Pals Competition following her induction into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. And Megan Thee Stallion’s Sunday night Essence Fest set shall be her first main efficiency since her withdrawal from the live performance circuit.

Along with the three iconic headliners, the occasion will embody performances by Trina, Eve, Mia X, Jill Scott, Salt-N-Pepa, Monica, and extra, additional emphasizing the theme of feminine empowerment.

“Being part of a female-led line-up at Essence Fest additional exhibits the affect and energy we’ve got as ladies within the style,” rapper Remy Ma, who shall be taking the stage throughout Angie Martinez’s 50 Years of Ladies in Hip-Hop set, mentioned. “I’m so honored to have fun the fiftieth anniversary of hip-hop, and share an area with a few of the biggest legends which have paved the best way for me.”