Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Future Looks Bright for the Next 25 Years of the Essence Festival of Culture – WATCH

*The future looks bright for the Essence Festival. The event, which has transformed from just a music festival to a gala of beauty, fashion, wellness and food.

The annual festival is now known as “The Essence Festival of Culture.”

With the goal of connecting Black women in a setting that expertly blurs the lines between family reunion and educational summit, there were 10 new Festival experiences, activations at more than 40 venues across New Orleans. This year’s festival brought in $4 Billion dollars to the city according to NOLA’s first Black female Mayor, LaToya Cantrell.

The Power Stage saw several of the 2020 Presidential candidates take the opportunity to speak directly with Black women featuring keynote addresses from Senator Michael Bennett, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Kamala Harris, Former Representative Beto O’Rourke, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The inaugural Global Black Economic forum was moderated by ESSENCE’s new owner Richelieu Dennis and featured top Brand executives including CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, Thashunda Brown-Duckett, Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillan, and ESSENCE CEO Michelle Ebanks. Topics covered how to bring more economic opportunity to the Black community, financial literacy plus entrepreneurship, financial planning, and saving.

Eurweb’s Jill Munroe attended the event as part of the Essence Festival Press junket and had the opportunity to hear from some of the event’s sponsors on why they involved in the event and the importance of investing in Black Women.

Ford’s campaign, “Paint the Future Proud” showcased three Black female artists. Visitors to Ford’s booth at the convention center were greeted by a 22×10 – foot-mural created by Sydney G. James. Entrepreneur Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar – a vegan lip line – participated in a panel discussion on the Ford stage and launched her first-non-lip product, a bronzer and blush duo during this year’s festival.

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Artist Melissa Mitchell – known for her use of  vibrant colors, unique shapes and bold dark lines – created a specially designed shoe and make up bag press junket members, who were gifted with the items during a brunch held at the New Orleans African American Museum. The afternoon included a test drive of the all new 2019 Ford Explorer and a private tour of Studio Be.

Ford’s multicultural communications manager Dibrie Guerrero shared “There’s no better way to highlight the spirit and beauty of the community than through art at the Essence Festival. Ford is proud to show its continued support for all women who demonstrate strength and leadership in their community.”

McDonald’s debuted their “Black & Positively Golden campaign” during a breakfast at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. Lizette Williams, Head of Cultural Engagement & Experiences for McDonald’s Corporation shared the company’s history of being deeply rooted in Black entrepreneurship and empowerment.

“The new campaign is brought to life in partnership with McDonald’s Black Owner/Operators nationwide. These entrepreneurs bring positive economic opportunities to the neighborhoods they serve in numerous ways, including hiring directly from the community, providing scholarships and engaging in other philanthropic activities.”

The Black & Positively Golden campaign wants to inspire black excellence and support the black community while changing the African American narrative in the media.

Actress Lala Anthony talked about her experience through the years working with McDonald’s

“I’ve always done amazing work with McDonald’s… It’s about inspiring people and really pushing people to find their passion, and get passed all the no’s to the yes.”

The four-day event kicked off with a reception hosted by “The Real’s” Loni Love. The comedian hosted the main stage over the weekend and shared how the festival was pivotal in her career. At one point she was brought to tears, reflecting on how longtime festival sponsor Wal- Mart and Essence brought her in to host a panel five years ago when she released her first book. “They weren’t putting me on Cosmopolitan” the comedian joked, she thanked Essence for “always supporting artists, performers and community leaders.”

Additional footage and photos provided by Essence and Nigel Degaff

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