- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Comedian and actor Kevin Hart has been added to the main stage lineup for the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

Organizers say Hart, hot on the heels of his starring role in last weekend’s No. 1 film, “Think Like a Man,” will debut his comedic talents during the festival scheduled for July 6-8 at the Superdome. Hart joins a lineup that includes Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi, Fantasia, and Eve.

The festival drew more than 422,000 attendees last year.

Essence Fest began as a one-time event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine. The festival is organized by Essence Communications Inc., a media company with a presence in publishing, live events and online services.

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