essence fest 2023

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion Headlining Essence Fest Hip-Hop Tribute

Queens. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos: Getty Images

Essence Fest is going hip-hop. The annual culture festival, which focuses on booking and drawing Black women, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop this year, with two generations of rappers, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Megan Thee Stallion, to headline June 29 through July 3. And that’s rappers, period. Not female rappers, or “femcees,” as some publications breaking the news would have it. Come on: It’s been 50 years! Hill takes the stage (no comment on timing) for the 25th anniversary of her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, after a 20th-anniversary tour in 2018 and a canceled Fugees reunion. Megan, meanwhile, is playing some of her first shows since Tory Lanez was found guilty of shooting her in the foot. Also on the bill are Monica, Coco Jones, and DJ Spinderella, along with comedians including Janelle James, who plays Essence Fest–goer Principal Ava on Abbott Elementary. Oh, yeah, and some male artists — mencees? — like Jermaine Dupri and Wizkid.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion Headlining Essence Fest