By Rebecca Thomas
The 2012 Essence Music Festival kicked off on Thursday in New Orleans, bringing the "party with a purpose" to the Crescent City. This year's event promises a stirring comeback performance by D'Angelo as well as key sets from stars like Trey Songz, Keyshia Cole and headliner Mary J. Blige.
At a press conference to mark the launch, the mag's editors and other notables including the city's mayor highlighted the many cultural events and bashes that have made EMF a must-do for 18 years. With support from corporate sponsors like Coca-Cola, Ford and McDonald's, Essence brings together a who's who of black music. And celeb sightings aren't surprising offsage with parties like last night's Hennessy and Carol's Daughter-hosted "For You Bayou" affair going down all weekend!
Stay tuned to RapFix and MTV News for full coverage of the 2012 Essence Music Festival.