Essence Festival 2018 (RECAP)
Chileeeeeeeee, this year’s Essence Festival attracted over 500,000 people, but if you weren’t able to make it this year, I have the behind the scenes ticket to what went down. Now, this year was like no other, I literally made the comment, “Girls Trip has Essence on Steriods”, I think that was a bit of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, this is coming from an extremely positive place. I’ve been to the Essence Festival several times over the years, but this was my first time ever attending as press!! Yassss, this is a huge deal for I and Style Follows Her. It was my ultimate goal to attend, cover, and experience every part of the Festival and share all the great experiences I encountered while I was there. I’m still yawning from all the fun…………and it was a lot of fun!!!
So take a seat and enjoy my experience:
So for all of my readers who don’t know what the Essence Festival is.
The Essence Festival, known as “the party with a purpose”, is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States. Locally referred to as the Essence Fest, it has been held in New Orleans, Louisiana since 1994 except for 2006, when it was held in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Katrina’s effect on New Orleans. It was also held in Durban, South Africa in 2016. It features artists simultaneously performing on the main stage as well as four standing-room-only superlounge stages.
So now that you have a clear picture of what the Essence Festival is all about, let us continue,
If you all didn’t know New Orleans is like my third home. BAY BEH, we always have a good ole time.
Thanks to The Chambers Group, our coordinators for the weekend, Muah, along with other bloggers, journalist, and photographers were taken care of in the most pleasant way. Some of the Media outlets were The Black Foodies, BK Social , The Officialist Magazine and many more. I was pleased with the organization; our interviews were scheduled and we knew exactly where we needed to be and when to be there. I’m so grateful I had my good good girlfriend along with me to snap, crackle, capture and cover the event with me. The Festival and Conference tracks included: Tech, Entrepreneurship & Career, Wealth, Beauty and Style, Entertainment, Wellness and Spirituality, Community and Culture, Food, and Shopping catered to help you live your BEST LIFE!! Smile Chic.
So my Essence journey started on July 6th, at the convention center in the Empowerment Experience with Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox, Shea Moisture Founder & CEO Richelieu Dennis. During the session Dennis announced he and Queen Latifah would be investing 20 million into the Essence Fund, that would pour into Black Makers and Creators. You should be standing and clapping right now!!!!
“One of the most difficult things is struggling to find the capital to continue your ideas,” Latifah said. “So by supporting us, you are going to keep this engine running in a way you aren’t even going to imagine.”
This is not all!!! Haircare Founder also announced $100 million funds for women entrepreneurs of color called the New Voices Fund. The fund will make private equity investments from Seed to Series C rounds and primarily focus on three verticals: consumer, technology and media/entertainment. Omg, you won’t believe this….during Essence, New Voices hosted a daytime pitch competition with prizes up to $25,000 awarded, for a total of $100,000. I actually participated in a Video Pitch session, although I didn’t make it to finals, just having the opportunity was amazing.
Next, we headed over to The Beauty Carnival, which included demonstrations by industry experts, DIY Tutorials with leading influencers, such as J Bolin, Anthony Cuts, Jackie Aina, Vernon Francois and many more. In the center of the ring included hairstyling, skim consultations, influencers meet and greet by Shea Moisture, My Black is Beautiful, Dove, Aveeno, Palmers, Maui Moisture and Creme of Nature.
It’s alway good to run into friends along the way… Powerhandz was in the building, Danyel Surrency Jones serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Powerhandz Inc., a global designer, and marketer of innovative athletic training products with an emphasis in sports tech and rehabilitation, we were excited to see her represent #blackgirlmagic at Essence.
Now you know my Auntie Iyanla was there, she left us with a powerful message curated by the music of the late and great Bob Marley, “Get up Stand Up”, her message packed a powerful punch. “We have to remember the truth of who you are, it’s not turning out well for us”. It was nothing short of amazing.
Overall, I wish it was more of me, so I could have experienced it all at once!! Essence Fest did not disappoint and make sure if you’re planning on attending next year, book your reservations now before it gets too late. Please stay tuned for additional highlights, including my exclusive invite to STARZ!