There appears to no longer be any lingering drama between Mary J. Blige and the Lovers & Friends music festival in Las Vegas, with Blige now listed as a performer after all. After a strange brouhaha yesterday in which Blige claimed she would not be performing at the throwback R&B/hip-hop festival and had been included on the poster and the press release in “error,” Blige’s name has now been returned to the lineup — in larger font, at that.
Following the sudden about-face from the festival, Blige posted an un-captioned smiling emoji alongside a dancing bag of money to her Instagram Story.
The festival, which announced its star-studdded lineup earlier this week, had only taken her name down from its website yesterday, after Blige took to Instagram to write: “Unfortunately my inclusion was an error as I will be busy in preparation for my Strength of a Woman Summit just one week later!” According to Billboard’s sources, her reps claimed to have spent an entire day attempting to contact the festival for a correction, without success.
Whether Lovers & Friends got ahead of themselves by announcing Blige’s performance before she had officially signed on, or this was just a particularly bold (and honestly impressive) bit of hard-nosed brinksmanship from Blige, we’ll probably never know. In any case, the festival, which takes place on May 4 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, began presales today, and already appears to be sold out.
Usher, who will be fresh from his Super Bowl Halftime Show duties, will be performing his diamond-certified Confessions album in full at the fest, while Lil Wayne is tackling his blockbuster album Tha Carter 3. In addition to Blige, the festival will also include sets from Janet Jackson, Nas, the Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Gwen Stefani, Brandy, Eve, Rick Ross, TLC, SWV, 6lack, Jodeci, Sean Paul, Kelly Rowland, Ciara, Redman & Method Man, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Nelly, and a dozen more acts besides. How they plan to fit it all into a single day remains to be seen.
As for the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, which takes place on Mother’s Day weekend in New York, no acts are yet known except for Blige herself. Blige, who has performed at both of the festival's previous incarnations, founded the festival in 2022. Last year’s edition featured Lauryn Hill, Summer Walker, Busta Rhymes and Jodeci.