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Usher, Kanye, Mary J Blige, Trey Songz Join Essence Music Fest Lineup

For the first time in his career, R&B crooner Usher will headline New Orleans’ annual 2011 Essence Music Festival.

Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J Blige, Trey Songz, Fantasia and Jill Scott will also be featured performers in the weeklong event, starting July 1 at The Superdome.

Essence Music Festival is widely recognized as the largest African American music event in the U.S, attracting close to half a million spectators yearly.

This year is the 17th year the event has been held.

Check the complete performance schedule below:

Friday, July 1: Usher, Charlie Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Macy Gray, Dwele, Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle, Mint Condition, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Tank, Miguel, Noel Gourdin, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas

Saturday, July 2: Kanye West, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, El Debarge, Eric Benet, Timothy Bloom, Morris Day & The Time, Shamarr Allen and The Underdawgs, Stephanie Mills, Charmaine Neville Band, Naughty by Nature, To Be Continued Brass Band

Sunday, July 3: Mary J Blige, New Edition, Trey Songz, Kem, Loose Ends, Hal Linton, Kourtney Heart, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Rebirth Brass Band, Kelly Price, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Trin-i-Tee 5:7, Brian Courtney Wilson, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Hot 8 Brass Band