Published on May 4th, 2022 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Pepsi Announces Programming Around Mary J. Blige’s ‘Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit’

In partnership with Mary J. Blige, Pepsi – co-presenter of the inaugural “Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit” during Mother’s Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia – announces a full three days of immersive programming to help elevate, entertain, and educate women in the Atlanta area and beyond. With a lineup of iconic female music superstars, including Mary J. Blige herself, Chaka Khan, Ella Mai, and many more, Atlanta will be moving to the soulful sounds of true music legends, but the action-packed festival goes beyond just music and entertainment.

Pepsi is co-presenting the full weekend of festivities with Mary J. Blige and her team to amplify, spotlight, and support the talented – and underrepresented – voices of the community through events and activations inspired by the brand’s rich heritage in music and entertainment and the latest contributions to culture and community. Activations include:

  • Pepsi Partners with Cutting Edge Web3 Female Artists to Bring Attendees Collectible Custom NFTs: Designed in partnership with leading female artists Rachel Winter (Remarkable Women NFT collection), Shaylin Wallace (digital and graphic designer specializing in surreal art), Amber Vittoria (It’s Because You’re Pretty NFT collection) and Varvara Alay (Flower Girls NFT collection), Pepsi is creating a curated set of unique NFTs exclusively for Summit attendees. Distributed as digital tokens known as Proof of Attendance Protocols (POAPs), these NFTs are true pieces of art that celebrate the partnership with the “Strength of a Woman” Festival and unapologetic love for music. Festival attendees will be able to secure these one-of-a-kind digital works of art, free on-site on Saturday, May 7 from 11 AM -6 PM via digital kiosks. Featured artists will also have selected works displayed at a gallery within The Gathering Spot on Saturday for festival attendees to explore, along with direct access to their public galleries and personal stores. Additionally, Shaylin and Amber will join moderator Sian Morson for the “Empowering Marginalized Voices with NFTs” panel on Saturday from 4:00 – 4:30 PM to discuss web3, the digital art community, how their personal efforts and work can empower and amplify marginalized voices and provide a real-time tutorial of the POAPs.

  •  Pepsi Showcases Pepsi Music Lab Finalist StarchildKayla and Her Original Track, “Up!”: In December, Pepsi launched Pepsi Music Lab, an annual program designed to remove music industry barriers, create new opportunities for artists, and shine a spotlight on the next generation of hip-hop superstars. StarchildKayla, one of three program finalists selected from thousands of applicants will be showcasing her new, original track “Up!” that she created at the first-ever Pepsi Music Lab Academy during the opening of the Friday night concert at the Tabernacle on May 6.  The brand is also bringing Pepsi Music Lab to the Summit with an interactive panel moderated by Rachel Jackson, Artist Relations Manager at YouTube Music, featuring Black female talent managers – Claudine Joseph (LL Cool J), Nicole Jackson (MJB), and Ebonie Ward (Future, Gunna) who will discuss how to successfully navigate the music industry.

  • Pepsi Stronger Together Empowers Atlanta Women by Supporting Black Female Entrepreneurs and Local Organizations That Uplift the Community: Pepsi Stronger Together, PepsiCo’s grassroots series of initiatives which started at the height of the pandemic as a way to directly and positively impact micro-communities across the country, will be providing grants to a selection of local Black entrepreneurs and organizations with the aim to support and uplift women from the inside out. Organizations being supported for their work in empowering Atlanta’s strong, aspirational women include Black-owned businesses The Village Market, 1787 Capital Group and The Pink Boss, and nonprofits City of Refuge, for their work in providing services to women and people in crisis; and Silence the Shame, which aims to break the barriers of access to mental health; and The Pinky Cole Foundation, for empowering generations of color in pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams, among others. Pepsi Stronger Together will also host a panel moderated by award winning actress and singer-songwriter Naturi Naughton featuring Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon (The Village Market), Myleik Teele (Curl Box, 1787 Capital Group), and Vanessa Parker (The Pink Box). They will discuss their own entrepreneurial and mental wellness journeys.

  •  Pepsi Dig In and Celebrity Chef, Carla Hall, Support Black Restauranteurs in Atlanta and Beyond: Pepsi is bringing the Pepsi Dig In program, a multi-year mission and investment to support and empower Black owned restaurants across the country, to Atlanta. Carla Hall will moderate a panel of Black female-owned restauranteurs including Pinky Cole (Slutty Vegan), Rasheeda (Frost Bistro and Bar), and Tamara Young (Toast on Lennox) to discuss successes and challenges in the food industry. The brand is partnering with Black female-owned restaurants Slutty Vegan, Fowl Play, Lazy Foodie, and Cookie Society to create “Food Truck Village” at The Gathering Spot, where attendees can get free beverages, merchandise, cookies, and other bites while at the Summit on Saturday, May 7. Visitors of the “Food Truck Village” will also be able to nominate their favorite Black-owned restaurants for Pepsi Dig In’s new Restaurant Royalty program, which will formulate the ultimate list of the most loved Black-owned restaurants in the country. Restaurants can be nominated via https://passport.pepsidigin.com.

“This weekend is so important because it is so much more than a concert. There are panels, classes, food events and more, aimed specifically at highlighting and supporting trailblazing BIPOC women in the greater Atlanta community,” said Ashaunna Ayars. “With Pepsi as a co-presenter, we’ve been able to utilize their massive scale to make this beyond anything we could have imagined when we first came up with this idea. It’s a true celebration of the strength of a woman and how that comes to life every day in music, food, culture, art, finance and much more.”

“I’m deeply proud of what this festival represents and the way we’ve been able to use our resources at Pepsi to be true collaborators and help co-present this important event,” said Todd Kaplan, Chief Marketing Officer – Pepsi. “When we engaged with Mary J. Blige last year at the start of our Pepsi Halftime Show journey, we were blown away by her drive and compassion in using her platform and voice to help others. So when this opportunity was born using music as an entry way to help amplify and elevate this underserved community of women, we were all in.  We’re so excited to see it come to life next month.”

“Our work in communities is anchored in our goal to utilize our brand platform as an arbiter of positive change and progress. Whether it’s our work with local restauranteurs, aspiring entrepreneurs or a legendary talent like Mary J. Blige, we want to celebrate success at the local level while creating opportunities to pay it forward, which is what we hope fans takeaway throughout the festival,” said Chauncey Hamlett, Chief Marketing Officer, South Division – Pepsi.

“Our mission with Pepsi Dig In remains laser focused on resourcing and championing Black-owned restaurants and chefs,” says Alexis Porter, Senior Director, Brand Building, PepsiCo Foodservice. “We are excited to partner with Mary J. Blige and the Strength of a Woman Festival to launch our new Restaurant Royalty program and ultimately, to amplify the voices of innovative Black women in the culinary industry.”

The Mary J. Blige and Pepsi “Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit,” in partnership with Live Nation Urban, will take place in the vibrant city of Atlanta, GA with three days devoted to music, comedy, and community between May 6-8, 2022. All tickets can be purchased at www.soawfestival.com.


Friday, May 6

COMEDY SHOW at Buckhead Theater

Ms. Pat, Wanda, Just Nesh, Erica Duchess

FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT at Tabernacle Atlanta

Kiana Ledè, Emotional Oranges, Rubi Rose, Inayah, MK XYZ, Omerettá the Great

Saturday, May 7

SUMMIT at The Gathering Spot ATL Featuring Carla Hall


Mary J. Blige & Friends, Chaka Khan, City Girls, Special Guest Ella Mai, Special Guests Xscape, Queen Naija, Baby Tate, Omerettá the Great

Sunday, May 8

Mother’s Day Brunch at City Winery

Kierra Sheard, Le’Andria Johnson

 **Lineup subject to change

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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