A decade after releasing their last album, Home Again, the now grown-up members of boy band New Edition--Bobby Brown included--are reuniting to perform at the Essence Musical Festival in July, organizers announced Tuesday.
Brown, who left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo career, will join Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe and Johnny Gill onstage during the Houston-based music fest, slated for July 1-3, in what may be a preview of New things to come.
The group said in January that it would hit the road again in 2008. The announcement came shortly after Brown joined another New Edition offshoot--trio Bell Biv DeVoe--onstage for a few numbers during an Atlantic City gig.
As is the case with many of Brown's musical achievements, however, the band's tour announcement was eclipsed by the singer's personal life. In January, it was reports of a possible split between Brown and wife Whitney Houston--which the "Don't Be Cruel" singer adamantly denied--that stole some of New Edition's thunder.
But the "Cool It Now" group will have a chance to recapture some glory at the upcoming festival, which has been a New Orleans tradition since 1995 but had to relocate this year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. New Edition is joining a lineup that includes Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Earth, Wind & Fire and Sean "Diddy" Combs. Jamie Foxx and Magic Johnson are also scheduled to participate in the festival's "Now or Never" empowerment seminars, which will educate attendees about helping Katrina victims.
A Brown-less New Edition joined forces in 2002 with Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment, culminating in the 2004 album One Love.