mary_j._blige_stronger_with_each_tear.pngNEW ORLEANS (AP) _ R&B singer Mary J. Blige will headline this year's Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

Billed as one of the nation's largest annual events celebrating black music and culture, the festival is slated for July 2 through 4.
The full lineup has not been released, but as in the past, musical acts will perform at the Louisiana Superdome and motivational seminars will be held during the day at the Morial Convention Center.

Besides headliners like Blige, the festival showcases New Orleans acts. In the past, those acts have included New Orleans' queen of soul Irma Thomas, Troy “Trombone Shorty'' Andrews and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield.

Blige has performed at Essence eight times. This year she is expected to perform songs from her latest studio album, “Stronger with Each Tear.''

Pictured above is Mary J. Blige.