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.
"Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL."