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.