Jun 7, 2023 - Things to Do

Juvenile will be at Essence Fest, after all

Photo shows Juvenile grinning at the camera. He has a red headwrap and red shirt, with a gold chain and grill.

Rapper Juvenile attends Reginae Carter 22 Hot Girl Birthday at Republic Lounge on Nov. 29, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage

Essence Fest says New Orleans rapper Juvenile will be part of its lineup, ending a dayslong controversy that started when he took to social media to criticize the organizers for leaving him out.

Driving the news: The artist posted on his social accounts Wednesday evening: "Hip-Hop 50 without Juvie? Not a chance. June 30th, NOLA we live!" along with a poster of Essence's June 30 show at the Superdome. Essence Fest confirmed the addition in a post.

Why it matters: Essence holds its massive festival every year in downtown New Orleans and brings in heavy hitters in the music industry. The event attracts thousands to the city.

The intrigue: This year's festival is billed as a celebration of 50 years of hip-hop, with headliners including Missy Elliott, Megan Thee Stallion and Ms. Lauryn Hill.

On Thursday last week, Juvenile shared a festival tweet with his commentary:

  • "How is essence doing 50 years of hip hop without me??? F that Donna Fest July 2nd me w my live band +Mannie Fresh +Rebirth & more ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️& the best food venders new orleans has to offer i should know im from here! Our 🎟️ are just $25!"

State of play: That tweet and other related retweets have since been deleted.

  • On Wednesday, Essence CEO Caroline Wanga told "Way Up with Angela Yee" that the controversy was overblown: "We have always created a festival that had some things announced and some things as surprises."

Of note: Juvenile's critique came after Essence organizers shared a flyer about one set called "The South Got Something To Say," Complex reports. It features Big Boi, Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, Ludacris and T.I.

Flashback: Juvenile is best known for his work on New Orleans-based Cash Money Records and as a member of the Hot Boys.

The big picture: Essence's annual event celebrating Black culture and community is June 30 to July 2 and takes over the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Caesars Superdome and just about everywhere in between. Expect a huge turnout and big-name performances.


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