Essence Festival is the epitome of a Woke Wonderland.
The Essence Festival arrived in New Orleans for another phenomenal year of fellowship, food and fun times .
The celebrity line up for each day was amazing.
Headliners included a reunion of XScape and Master P with Mia X. This XScape reunion with has been a huge talk of 2017 that still had echoing reviews from their amazing performance at the BET Awards just a few days prior to the ESSENCE event. It was a surprise to find out that they were performing on the smaller stage (the Superlounge) Sunday night, but they reminded us how magical their alliance was over 20 years ago.
Diana Ross, Solange, Remy Ma, Chance the Rapper, Chaka Khan and many others graced the Main Stage of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. I had the pleasure of seeing Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Ava DuVernay and Lance Gross grace the Center Stage area at the Convention center who all shared their individual projects and how they balance a busy work life with family and loved ones.
Boris Kodjoe reminded his fans the importance of staying in the moment as he spoke to fans in the AT&T showcase. Their hashtag for the event was #BeTheGlow and Boris shared with everyone what that term meant to him.
“It means having an internal strength. Being aware of your self-worth. It is especially important for women to me because as a father of a 12-year old girl, I have to make sure she understands her worth and purpose here on Earth”.
One of my favorite celebrity appearances had to be Remy Ma and Papoose. Remy shared with the press room how she really wants to share her journey in hopes that it will inspire someone else to stay motivated and go after their goals.
“I love being at Essence where so many women are doing positive things for themselves and each other”.
Papoose was right along Remy’s side to support her emergence from doing time with the law, to increasing her earnings by joining “Love and Hip Hop: New York” as a cast member and dropping a joint album with Fat Joe last year.
Another awesome factor in the Essence Festival was the generational excellence displayed. Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Cissy Houston all were present for performance while minutes later, Lil’ Romeo (Master P’s son) and Cymphonique (Tiny from XScape’s daughter) were gracing the same stage with their talent.
The hashtag #WokeWonderland was a huge factor with the festival for many reasons. It is imperative that we take the gems of knowledge from people who came before us to evolve. There were so many exhibits, displays, performances, interviews, and showcases that not only entertained the public, they EDUCATED the public as well.
“Woke” is used often in today’s society to express being aware of things needed for effective and positive change in the world and after attending ESSENCE, they exceeded the criteria for the definition.
Much love to our DC artists who represented beautifully – Raheem DeVaughn and Ari Lennox.
Here’s some of the visual highlights from ESSENCE Fest 2017:
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for 2017 Essence Music Festival