aretha franklin*If you’re already thinking about making plans for the 2012 Coca-Cola sponsored Essence Music Festival, have we got news you can use.

We’re talking Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, and Keyshia Cole as just a sample of the artists that are already lined up to take the stage at the Superdome on the Fourth of July weekend in N’awlins.

“Power of Our Voices” is the theme that will be celebrated and of course you expect show stopping performances from Aretha, Mary J and empowerment seminars by Steve Harvey, Rev. Al Sharpton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and many more.

“Whether it’s Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul commanding respect or Rep. Maxine Waters demanding better conditions for our community, these powerful voices resonate with our audience like no other,” says Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc.

Other acts making their way to The Big Easy July 6-8 include Ledisi, Charlie Wilson, Raheem DeVaughn and 90s R&B girl group, SWV.

Click here to see who else will be rocking the crowds, and for more, from tickets to hotels and food.