Kanye West Headlines Essence Music Festival

Superstar rapper Kanye West will head to New Orleans this July to headline the 2011 Essence Music Festival.

Kanye is slated to hit the stage during the three-day festival, which will also include performances by Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, funk legend George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic, Irma Thomas, MC Lyte, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Rebirth Brass Band, TBC Brass Band others.

"Essence is proud to present our most beloved and rising talent across all R&B categories for our first announcement. We listen to our audience and the performers in our first roll-out are the musicians they want to see under one roof over the Fourth of July weekend," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "Our mission this year was to celebrate community through the prism of the art form that continues to tell our reader's stories: R&B."

Over 400,000 people are expected to attend the 2011 Essence Music Festival, which will take place on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

According Ebanks, more artists will be announced in the months and weeks leading up to the Essence Music Festival, which is in its 17th year.