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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- R&B favorites Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott are among the powerhouse performers scheduled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this year's Essence Festival.

Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Charlie Wilson and previously announced singer-songwriter Prince, who performed at Essence in 2004 to mark the festival's 10th anniversary, also will headline the event, organizers said Wednesday.

Essence, a celebration of black music and culture, will be held July 3-6 in New Orleans. It's been held every Independence Day weekend since 1995, when it marked the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine.

Other acts scheduled to appear this year include 112, Sevyn Streeter, Elle Varner, Robert Glasper, Marsha Ambrosius, Stephanie Mills, Eve, Doug E Fresh, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Kourtney Heart and The Original Pinettes Brass

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