Diana Ross head­lines New Or­leans fes­ti­val

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY CHEVEL JOHN­SON Associated Press

New Or­leans — A lit­tle bit of Mo­town nos­tal­gia will fill the Su­per­dome when “The Boss” her­self per­forms for the first time at the an­nual Essence Fes­ti­val in New Or­leans. Diana Ross head­lines Fri­day’s open­ing night of con­certs in­side the Su­per­dome. The event runs through Sun­day.

Mu­sic fans are gear­ing up for the 73-yearold singer’s first per­for­mance at the fes­ti­val, ea­ger to hear her hits with The Supremes like “Ain’t No Moun­tain High Enough,” “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Stop! In the Name of Love,” as well as some of her solo hits like “Up­side Down” and “I’m Com­ing Out.”

Michelle Ebanks, pres­i­dent of Essence Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., said they were thrilled when Ross com­mit­ted to the fes­ti­val. “For years, we’ve reached out to her, ask­ing her to per­form. And this year, fi­nally, she said, ‘Yes.’ Per­sis­tence pays off,” Ebanks said, laugh­ing. “She’s leg­endary and is a per­former who’s etched in our minds and through­out the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. She’s a per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of what it means to love mu­sic and ap­pre­ci­ate great artistry.”

Ross is clos­ing the first night on the main stage, which will also see per­for­mances by Ross’ old­est daugh­ter, Rhonda Ross; Grammy, Os­car and Tony win­ner John Leg­end; Gram­my­win­ning soul singer In­dia.Arie; Afrika Ma­mas and Ju­nior. Oth­ers sched­uled to per­form in the su­per lounges — event spa­ces cre­ated in the cav­ernous hall­ways in­side the Su­per­dome — in­clude MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Kelly Price, Emily Este­fan, Yuna, Ro James and New Or­leans’ own PJ Mor­ton.

Ross, in pre­vi­ous in­ter­views, has said she’s look­ing for­ward to the per­for­mance in a city she’s “crazy” about. She said she’s also ex­cited that her daugh­ter is get­ting an op­por­tu­nity to per­form.

Rhonda Ross, who de­scribes her mu­sic as funky, neo-soul with a jazz foun­da­tion, opens Fri­day’s main stage. She’s been an open­ing act for her mother’s cur­rent tour, show­cas­ing songs from her lat­est project “In Case You Didn’t Know.”

The fes­ti­val also has free work­shops on en­trepreneur­ship, re­la­tion­ships, ac­tivism, health and well­ness.


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