The Recording Academy will get to the essence of the 2012 Essence Music Festival by featuring live social coverage and exclusive GRAMMYs On The Road video interview reports from this year's festival, which runs July 5–8 in New Orleans.
Among the GRAMMY-winning artists scheduled to perform are Mary J. Blige, D'Angelo, Aretha Franklin, Anthony Hamilton, Mary Mary, and Charlie Wilson, among many other acts.
The 2012 festival has expanded to four days of music performances, inspiring empowerment panels and block parties. Panels will include such guests as radio personality Steve Harvey, CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Vanessa Williams and others.
This marks the festival's 18th year. Over nearly two decades, the festival has previously hosted such acts as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J, Prince, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, and dozens of other top-name artists.