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Essence magazine announced the initial lineup for the 2017 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, which will feature headliners Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and John Legend, among others. The 23rd annual event will take place  June 30-July 2, 2017. Confirmed artists set to perform at the Essence Festival concert over the Independence Day holiday at the Louisiana Superdome include: Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Doug E. Fresh, Erykah Badu, India. Arie, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend, June’s Diary, Lalah Hathaway, Lizzo, Master P, Michel’e, Moses Sumney, Ro James, Shaggy, Sir The Baptist, Solange, Teyana Taylor, The Jones Girls Feat. Shirley Jones, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tweet, Yuna, and more to be announced soon. Mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and DeLeon  Tequila have announced a partnership with Billboard magazine that includes the introduction of DeLeon 100. The DeLeon 100 will recognize 100 trailblazers nationwide. The campaign encourages disrupting the status quo and shaping your own future. It’s great to see the guys undertaking this venture. Grammy nominated R&B singer Ro James will be hitting the road next year on his first headlining tour. Following “The King & Queen Of Hearts Tour” with Maxwell and Mary J. Blige, the singer/songwriter announced the “XIX Tour”, which will travel to 23 cities across North America, beginning on February 3 in Portland, Oregon. The 2017 tour is scheduled to make stops in several  major cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and more. On the heels of receiving his first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance for his hit single “Permisson”, the “XIX Tour” will support James’ debut album “ELDORADO.” Tickets and VIP packages are now available at http://www.RoJamesXIX.com. Rapper Kid Cudi makes his return to hip hop with his sixth studio effort, “Passion, Pain, Demon Slayin.” After having a tumultuous 2016, which included a rocky relationship with Kanye West, a beef with Drake, and checking into rehab, Cudi is closing 2016 by releasing his album as promised. The eighteen track set includes special guest appearances by Travis Scott, Andre 3000,  Pharrell Williams and Willow Smith. Prior to the release of the album, Cudi delivered “Frequency” and “Surfin”, featuring Pharrell Williams to fans. Without question, Cudi’s return is good news to fans. Rap collective the Lox have returned with their first album in 16 years titled “Filthy America… It’s Beautiful.” For the 16 track project, the group reeled in features from Gucci Mane, Fetty Wrap, Mobb Deep, Infrared and Dyce Payne. Earlier this month, the group announced a new deal with Rock Nation. Following their announcement, they released the singles “Don’t Cry” and “What Else You Need To Know.” Fans of the New York based rap collective can now rejoice by streaming their first album in 16 years.