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The Saturday [July 2] evening performances of the 2016 Essence Festival were rocking with superstar headliners.

From daytime panels, meet-and-greets and performances at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the celebration continued down the street at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Saturday night’s lineup had something for everybody—from Hip Hop to pop and R&B to grown folks music.

Dressed in a shimmery white gown, flowy golden blonde locks and custom-made Christian Louboutin’s, headliner Mariah Carey sang fan favorites and her nostalgic number one hits, including “Vision of Love,” “Always Be My Baby,” and “Honey,” among others, reuniting with Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat for a surprise appearance.

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Rapper Common brought a south side Chicago flavor to the Big Easy. Dapper and cucumber cool, the Oscar Award winner set the stage ablaze with a fire performance.

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Common wasn’t the only Chi City native in the building. Jeremih, donned in all-white, rocked the stage and screaming fans, performing his radio mainstays, including his breakout smash, “Birthday Sex,” “Oui,” and “I Like.”
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Charlie Wilson, better known as Uncle Charlie, stole the show. During his hour-long set, the former lead single of the The Gap Band danced like it was 1999 and no tomorrow. From his romantic ballads to hits from his 80s group days to gospel, Wilson was a firecracker, easily giving younger artists a run for their money.

Outfit changes, upbeat choreography and live band galore, the “There Goes My Baby” singer was a must-see.
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Doug E. Fresh kept the party going, hyping up the crowd before the last act.

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Doug E. Fresh

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Host Nephew Tommy

Photo credit: Juan Anthony Images