Photos: ESSENCE Festival Welcomes Stars from “The Lion King”

JD McCrary  and Shahadi Wright Joseph.

JD McCrary (voice of Young Simba), Shahadi Wright Joseph (voice of Young Nala) from Disney’s “The Lion King” were on hand at ESSENCE Festival 2019 this weekend  at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

The young actors celebrated the movie’s upcoming opening by singing “Can’t Wait to be King” on the ESSENCE Centerstage.

Additionally, the Great Street Stephen Full Gospel Choir under the leadership of Pastor Debra Morton and GRAMMY®-nominated, Stellar Award-winning gospel legend Bishop Paul S. Morton performed “The Circle of Life” with Tshidi Manye (Rafiki in Broadway’s “The Lion King”).

Great St. Stephen Full Gospel Choir and Tshidi Mayne also performed “The Circle of Life.”
 

Tamron Hall helped facilitate the festivities.

Shahadi Wright Joseph, JD McCrary and Tamron Hall

The ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola, the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience, marked its 25th anniversary July 4-7, 2019, in New Orleans, La. The Festival, the only experience of its kind, is also the largest celebration of global Black culture and continues to reach new heights with a focus on economic inclusion, cultural ownership and community development. Now attracting more than 500,000 attendees each weekend, the ESSENCE Festival surpasses every national music, entertainment, and cultural festival based on average daily attendance and is planning its most extensive programming to date.

Disney’s “The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way, Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters on July 19, 2019. Click here to check out trailer.

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