Sheryl Lee Ralph, Taraji P. Henson, Oprah Winfrey and Vice President Kamala Harris are just some of the many stars who participated in daytime activations at Essence Festival of Culture this past weekend. But at night, fans packed Cesears Superdome to party with a few hip hop icons during this year’s evening concert series and the festival’s celebration of 50 years of hip hop.
Lauryn Hill rounded out Friday’s festivities with a special performance in celebration of the 25th anniversary of her 5-time Grammy winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. From performances of hits like “Everything Is Everything” and “Killing Me Softly” to surprise guest appearances from Wyclef Jean, Hill’s kickoff set a high precedent for the nights to follow.
A curated performance by Doug E. Fresh featured Slick Rick, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and EPMD while Janelle Monae almost bared it all during her set.
Missy Elliott headlined Saturday’s show, kicking off her 52nd birthday with fans who rocked out to hits like “Work It” and “Pass That Dutch.” Jill Scott was living her life like it’s golden on stage, as the Philly native filled the room with the sensual sounds of a few of her neo-soul hits.
Ice Cube, DJ Quik, Ice T, Yo-Yo, Lady of Rage, J.J. Fad, and E-40 reminded fans of California’s impact on hip hop while Ludacris, T.I., Gucci Mane and others represented Atlanta.
Megan Thee Stallion and Wizkid put on for today’s hip hop, closing out Sunday with a show-stopping performance. Legendary radio personality Angie Martinez hosted a “Women in hip hop” special featuring Eve, Remy Ma, Salt-N-Pepa, Mia X and Trina.
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