Essence Festival 2015 Top Picks

19:00 June 29, 2015
By: Staff

Thursday,  July 2 


DJ Drama and Biz Markie

1–5 p.m. ~ Sugar Mill, 1021 Convention Center Blvd.

DJ Drama is best known for his collaboration with rappers T.I. and Lil Wayne. He has also worked with other well-known artists such as Nelly, Yung Joc, Willie the Kid, Young Jeezy, Akon, Snoop Dogg and Gucci Mane. Biz Markie is best known for his 1989 hit single “Just a Friend” and has recently worked in television and recording endeavors.  


Kevin Hart

7 p.m. ~ Main Stage

While working as a shoe salesman by day, Kevin Hart was discovered at an amateur comedy night at a local club. The laughs roared throughout New England as his reputation grew. He is now known nationally as a comedian, actor, producer and writer. His notable works include Think Like a Man, About Last Night, and Real Husbands of Hollywood.


Trey Songz

7:45 p.m. ~ Main Stage

This 30-year-old is best known for his musical talents. However, he is also a songwriter, producer and actor. To date, he has released six albums, his most recent release being Trigga. Songz just completed the Between the Sheets Tour with Chris Brown and Tyga. 


Friday,  July 3


Doug E. Fresh 

7 p.m. ~ Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge

Doug E. Fresh, originally from Barbados, is known as the "Human Beat Box." His performances are memorable for his unique ability to imitate artificial sound. The artist is also a successful rapper and record producer. 



8:20 p.m. ~Main Stage 

(Also speaking Saturday, July 4 at Empower U, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)

India.Arie has sold more than 10 million records worldwide and is best known as an R&B and soul musician. Her talents have achieved her four Grammy Awards and over 20 nominations. Her most recent album is Songversation.


Nico & Vinz

8:40 p.m. ~ Hot Right Now Superlounge 

Nico & Vinz, a Norwegian duo originally called Envy, formed in 2009. Their West African roots heavily influenced both artists and are reflected in their music. Nico & Vinz are most widely known for their 2013 release “Am I Wrong.”


Saturday,  July 4


Iyanla Vanzant

5:35 PM ~ Empower U, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Iyanla Vanzant has frequented many stages and entered many homes as a popular author, special guest and television host. She appeared repeatedly on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is known for her inspirational wisdom and expertise as a lawyer, teacher and life coach. Her most recent book, Peace from Broken Pieces, chronicles her personal struggle and how she has found peace amid chaos. 


Erykah Badu

8:35 p.m. ~ Main Stage 

This Dallas, Texas, native was first signed in 1994 and released her first R&B album in 1997. Since then, she has blossomed into a successful singer-songwriter, producer and actress. She is now remembered for her impact on the neo-soul sub-genre and is known to some as the First Lady of Neo-Soul.


Raheem DeVaughn

9:35 p.m. ~ Now Playing Superlounge

Raheem DeVaughn is a successful, Grammy-nominated R&B and neo-soul artist. His hit single “Woman” earned a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. He has also has made several guest appearances on popular albums, joining artists such as The Roots. 


Sunday,  July 5


Bishop Lester Love and the City of Love

10:30 a.m. ~ Empower U, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Bishop Lester Love is the leader of the City of Love. He has traveled the country inspiring others to achieve their full potential and find God through the teachings of the Bible. His oratory talent is known to be rousing and magnetic for all to hear. 


7 p.m. ~ Main Stage

Artists Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart first came together as a duo with a love for performance poetry. The two have been active in music for a number of years and each recorded solo albums. Ambrosius and Stewart are together again, performing for the first time in nine years beginning in May 2015. 



8 p.m. ~ Hot Right Now Superlounge

SZA is the stage name for alternative R&B artist Solana Rowe. She has been musically active for years, releasing her first EP, See.SZA.Run, in 2012. Her most recent release, A, has an edgy tone that has been fueling the Enter the Void tour, which she has headlined since 2014.  

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