The 2018 Essence Music Festival celebrated its 24th year in it’s adopted home of New Orleans, which was nothing short of amazing! For the first time ever, all three nights of the ESSENCE Festival concert series at the Louisiana Superdome sold out. The extraordinary turnout underscores Essence’s engagement of Black women around community, culture, and content which was brought to life in innovative ways at the annual celebration from the legendary headliners to the phenomenal panels and celebration of black culture.Essence Festival continues to prove they know how to capture the essence of the black experience.
The eventful weekend started out on Thursday, July 5 with a welcome to the city where the community put all hands on deck to restore historical areas devastated over the years by natural disasters. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center housed many of Essence Festival’s major sponsors and some of its daytime activities. Vendors from all over the country had the opportunity to gather and proudly display their products and services.
The family-friendly events brought a smile to everybody’s face from the young and inquisitive to the grown and sexy. There was literally something for everyone. Dance and singing competitions sponsored by McDonald’s, Walmart, Ford, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Disney, and State Farm added not only to the fun-filled days but allowed everyone to come together as one big family. Patrons were able to come in and shake their groove thing for giveaways. While in other areas performances & panels were put on with megastars such as Brandy, 702, JJ Hairston and Vivica Fox, just to name a few. What would Essence be without beauty and empowerment? People got the opportunity to experience grooming stations which involved makeup and beauty pampering as well as product education on proper tools and technics for all of our skin and hair needs.
As the sun set, music lovers filled the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with anticipation as some of their favorite musicians began to take the stage and blow the roof off the building. While the lineup was set and people knew who to expect, some of the acts brought out some old friends and other legends to help put on one of the best Essence Festival shows that we have ever seen. There was not a dull moment as spectators looked on to witness the celebration of such an amazing energy.
Friday night kicked off the first of many great performances which included Ledisi, Miguel, & The Roots who brought out Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Kirk Franklin and the choir to round off their performance.
Saturday had such acts as Xscape & Queen Latifah who brought her jazz side out and a very special tribute song to her late mother. This lady is truly a triple threat as she gave you every aspect of her creativity from the singing then transitioning back to what we all know her for which is hip-hop. She then brought out Brandy, MC Lyte, Salt-n- Peppa, Remy Ma, Yo-Yo and a show stopping performance from Mary J Blige rounded off the evening’s greatness.
Sunday only turn the heat up even more with amazing performances as people got a chance to enjoy Ashanti and legendary super-producer Teddy Riley, who brought out many of the talented acts that he worked with over the years such as Hi-5, Blackstreet, Guy, SWV, and Kool Moe Dee. Fantasia came to the stage and lit a fire with her powerful and energetic performance. Soon after, the stage was graced by none other than the iconic legendary Miss Janet Jackson herself.
There were performances at every end of the Superdome. Performances from H.E.R., Ella Mae, Major, Marsha Ambrosia, 112, June’s Diary, Jussie Smollett and New Orleans natives both Lloyd and Big Freeda.
The beautiful thing about New Orleans Essence Festival is you find yourself in the midst of some of the same people who you watched growing up. This is truly black excellence. We can’t forget about all of the amazingly talented individuals who have paved the way through the entertainment industry like actors Larenz Tate, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, Kim Cole, David and Tamala Mann, Mona Scott Young, Anthony Mackie, Nikki Gilbert, Lance Gross, the stunningly pregnant Letoya Luckett, and Cynthia Bailey.
With all of this excitement, it’s literally going to take everybody until next year to recover from the overwhelming experience that is the 2018 Essence Festival. People have already started booking tickets for next year. Hope to see you there!
For more information visit www.essencemusicfestival.com