Mary J. Blige and Pepsi have announced the inaugural “Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit” in partnership with Live Nation Urban. The festival will take place in the vibrant city of Atlanta, GA with three days devoted to music, comedy, and community building between May 6-8th, 2022. Presale tickets go live Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 10am ET, while general on-sale begins on Thursday, March 10th at 10AM ET. All tickets can be purchased at www.soawfestival.com.
Intentionally held over Mother’s Day weekend, the festival is unapologetically curated for and by women in the hotbed for creativity and culture, Atlanta, GA. As a 9x Grammy Award-Winning Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Producer, Philanthropist & Global Superstar, Mary J Blige has committed the majority of her career to amplify, empower, and give voice to BIPOC women through the art of music and truth-telling. This multi-touchpoint festival, which focuses on Music, Wellness, Tech, Beauty, and Financial Literacy is the evolution of her life’s mission and purpose. "The idea for the festival came to us after early listening sessions of my latest album with my family and friends and women in the industry. Each time, the people in the room would share a story, oftentimes of heartbreak or pain, but they always ended with joy and love and how their girlfriends or mom or sister helped them find their voice and strength. We felt like after two years of being inside and having to endure so much, that this was the type of experience that people, especially women, deserved” stated Blige. “I'm so grateful to all of the performers, vendors, and participants for committing themselves to our inaugural event and I am so excited to do this in a city that has been rocking with me since the very beginning of my career. I am proud to create this with my sisters and I look forward to an undeniably beautiful and special experience."
The festival is the brainchild of Blige, and her partners Nicole Jackson, Vice President of MJB Inc., and Marketing Maven Ashaunna Ayars of The Ayars Agency. They’ve assembled a team of women to lead every arm of the festival from production to communications, an effort that echoes the purpose and vision of the festival. Ayars, Mary’s long-time partner shared, “this festival and summit were created for our friends, mothers, sisters, and the countless women who walk unapologetically in their truth and strength. Being able to bring an experience like this to fruition, especially with a dynamic team of Black women at the helm, is a dream come true. I’ve lived in Atlanta for several years and am thrilled that we’ll be able to give back to a city that has nurtured, supported, and amplified to the global stage so many Black artists and entrepreneurs. We are so grateful for Pepsi’s support in celebrating and honoring women, but also with their commitment via grants for the larger Atlanta creative & entrepreneurial community.”
With incredible support from Mari Davies, Vice President of Booking and Talent at Live Nation Urban, the festival is the first of its kind to have women not only as the performing acts, but as the decision-makers behind the scenes. “I’m thrilled to present a powerful lineup of all-female talent headlined by, and in partnership with, Mary J Blige for the Inaugural Strength of a Woman Weekend in Atlanta. Mary’s story and career are so inspirational, relatable, and triumphant. The weekend will showcase and celebrate strong talented women across generations and I’m proud to be a part of such a special weekend! This is for us and by us,” stated Davies.
Blige and partners chose Atlanta as the backdrop for this inaugural event given its reputation as the mecca for young Black creatives and entrepreneurs. The festival is proud to partner with dozens of local, minority, and female-owned businesses and vendors to help cultivate the best experience for attendees. The love for Atlanta is reflected not only in the festival’s investment into the local entrepreneurial community but also in the performers and hosts for the various events over the weekend. Andre Dickens, Atlanta’s newly elected Mayor, is excited to support the festival, stating “For generations, the foundation of Atlanta’s resilience has been built and fortified by women,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “The ‘Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit’ lifts up our local minority and women-owned local businesses and amplifies the voices of the women in our lives who continuously make our communities better through their lens of courage combined with compassion. Thank you to Mary J. Blige—one of our nation’s most iconic artists and no stranger to Atlanta—and her partners for choosing Atlanta for this inaugural event. Atlanta continues to influence everything.”
“Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit” is co-produced by Pepsi, whose relationship with Blige, and commitment to the community, extends far beyond the three-day festival. Just weeks after Blige’s epic performance during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, Pepsi is teaming up with the superstar once again, to deepen the brand’s support of music, local communities, and the next generation of headlining performers. Pepsi will support Blige and her team of powerful creatives in the lead-up to the festival, activate throughout the festival grounds, launch community-led initiatives and givebacks leading up to and during the weekend, and drop digital content and more to excite fans every step of the way. "We are honored to, once again, partner with Mary - someone whose impact and presence is felt as much on stage as it is off. As a brand that has spent more than a decade producing and amplifying performances on one of the world's largest stages with the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and beyond, we are thrilled to provide even more resources to elevate the festival experience for consumers and give back to the Atlanta community, all while celebrating the women that help the city, and our culture, thrive," said Derek Lewis, President, PepsiCo Multicultural Business and Equity Development.
Kicking off the weekend is the concert at Tabernacle Atlanta, curated to highlight youth culture and emerging Hip-Hop and R&B superstars such as Kiana Ledé, Emotional Oranges, Inayah, MK XYZ, Omerettá the Great, and more. Rounding out the night is the comedy show at Buckhead Theater hosted by Atlanta radio personality Wanda featuring the hilarious Ms. Pat and more. The festivities for Saturday, May 7th start off at The Gathering Spot ATL with the Strength of a Woman Summit—the ultimate destination bringing the festival’s mission and purpose of empowerment, elevation, and education to life via engaging workshops and panel discussions. The fun continues at the State Farm Arena with the second concert night with what is sure to be memorable performances by Mary J. Blige and special guests, Chaka Khan, City Girls, Ella Mai, and Queen Naija, and more, hosted by Kenny Burns. The culminating event is the Mother’s Day Gospel Brunch on Sunday, May 8th. Hosted at the beautiful City Winery, the ticketed brunch service will feature Gospel music’s hottest artists including Kierra Sheard, Le’Andria Johnson, and more. Check out the full confirmed lineup for the weekend below with more to be announced.
Friday, May 6th
COMEDY SHOW at Buckhead Theater
Ms. Pat, Wanda, Just Nesh, Erica Duchess
FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT (Night 1) at Tabernacle Atlanta
Kiana Ledè, Emotional Oranges, Rubi Rose, Inayah, MK XYZ, Omerettá the Great
Saturday, May 7th
SUMMIT at The Gathering Spot ATL
SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT (Night 2) at State Farm Arena
Mary J. Blige & Friends, Chaka Khan, City Girls, Special Guest Ella Mai, Special Guests Xscape, Queen Naija, Baby Tate, Omerettá the Great
Sunday, May 8th
Mother’s Day Brunch at City Winery
Kierra Sheard, Le’Andria Johnson
**Lineup subject to change