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Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and Chance the Rapper ignite the 2017 Essence Music Fest


Mary J Blige performs at the Essence Music Festival; Erika Goldring/Getty ImagesThe 2017 Essence Festival wrapped up on Sunday night rounding out a stellar three-night concert full of legends, reunions, and fan favorites.

No mountain was too high for Friday night’s headliner, Diana Ross. The seventy-three-year-old legend made it her mission to offer the crowd some of her most notable hits, including “More Today than Yesterday,” “My World Is Empty Without You,” “Baby Love,” and “Stop In The Name of Love.”

Although it was her first appearance on the main stage for Essence, Ross handled her set like a true veteran with three glamorous outfit changes and moments of requested crowd participation. As the headliner, Ross was preceded by Rhonda Ross, Afrika Mamas, Junior, India.Arie, and John Legend, the latter of whom managed to bring the audience to its feet several times during his set.

Saturday night, Mary J. Blige brought down the Superdome by taking fans on an emotional journey through her music. With the longest set of the night, Blige began in the 90s with songs like “My Life,” “You Bring Me Joy” and “I’m Going Down.” The singer also performer some new music from her recently released album, Strength of a Woman.

“Ladies, I’m going to talk to the guys tonight for y’all,” she told the roaring crowd.  “You can only have one queen, not two queens, not three queens. One queen,” she emphasized. “Take care of home and you’ll be all right.”

Ari Lennox, Monica, Jazmine Sullivan, and Jill Scott also performed that night, with Chaka Khan closing the show and bringing all the the previous main stage singers out to perform her classic 1978 hit, “I’m Every Woman.”

The last night of Essence Fest seemed to have “no limit” on surprises. Master P. reunited with his No Limit soldiers on stage, which included Silkk da Shocka, Mia X, Mystikal, and even Snoop Dogg

Prior to Master P.’s set, Ithwasa Lekhansela, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue band, and Solange graced the stage. Solange gave fans an official “seat at the table,” showing off dynamic choreography and singing the crowd’s favorite, “Cranes in the Sky.”

To wrap up the third night, Chance the Rapper energetically hit the stage performing songs from his 2016 album, Coloring Book. During his set, Chance engaged the crowd and referred to his 1-year-old daughter Kensli throughout the night.

As the headliner and closer of the evening, Chance took the Superdome crowd to church with his spiritually-infused rhymes and messages. “How many of you want to go to heaven,” he asked as part of the introduction to his song, “Blessings.”

Before Chance left the 2017 Essence Fest stage, the Grammy winner made sure he gave fans two songs they’d been waitng for: “No Problem,” and DJ Khaled‘s “I’m the One.”

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