It’s probably safe to say that after the blockbuster movie “Girls Trip” the Essence Festival was packed beyond your imagination and everyone I talked to was so excited to be there, especially those that were there for the first time and it definitely would not be their last!

You also had the seasoned ones who have been coming for so many years and have no intentions on missing the festival ever. It was so amazing to see people from every part of the world being represented and showing a unity that was phenomenal in itself.

Not sure if it was my imagination, but there was such a special energy in the air that made you feel such a closeness to everyone you talked to and had the pleasure of meeting.  Sisterhood among the women was so strong and there was an appreciation for being able to come this year and every year for that matter which was evident from the conversation POET had with 2 dedicated Essence Festival Lovers!

All the major players were represented at the festival; McDonald’s, Walmart, AT&T, Coca Cola, Ford, and the list goes on.  This event gives women an opportunity to sample products and services that are tailored just for them.  There may have been a little wait, but honestly no one seem to care, and it gave them an opportunity to meet others who were there for a common reason.

This year’s concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all on FIRE!  AWESOME LINEUP each night and the Superdome was PACKED! Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu,The Roots, Fantasia, Miguel, Xscape, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Ledisi, Snoop Dogg, MC Lyte, Jussie Smollett, Lloyd, Ella Mai, Damien Escobar, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, YoYo, Doug E. Fresh’s “Legends of Hip-Hop” curation, Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing All-Star Experience with SWV, Keith Sweat and so many more.  I’m not going to say anything else because the pictures say it all.

There were so many events and celebrations, but the one I feel compelled to mention is the 365Black Awards Luncheon sponsored by McDonald’s.

I honestly have to say that this event was definitely high on the list of recognizing great women in our communities who deserve recognition for the awesome and amazing job they are doing! Big shout out and congratulations to the following awesome awardees; Kimberly Bryant, Monique Vann-Brown, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Symone Sanders, and Tishauna M. Wilson. Let me not forget, special appearances by Loni Love, Cynthia Bailey, Rowland Martin, Fred Hammond, Daley & Raheem DeVaughn.

The Essence Festival will be celebrating 25 years next year and if it’s anything like this year, you may want to start planning NOW!


Article and Photography by JV Jones

Concert Photography by Mike Ware (M&M Photography)

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JV Jones

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