I think Oprah said it best during her empowerment session when she referred to Essence Fest as a giant family reunion. You are just as likely to run into someone you sat next to in freshman English class as well Oprah herself. The festival continues to reach next levels of black excellence with a focus on empowerment, education and of course entertainment. This year the festival added a Beauty and Style Expo which was complete with street-style fashion shows and live demos from some of the most popular YouTube personalities in hair and makeup. The expo also had representation from brands including Carols Daughter, Dark and Lovely and Cantu.
The Superdome was one giant party where the night time entertainment included performances from New Edition, Puff Daddy and Family, crowd favorite Charlie Wilson and Mariah Carey just to name a few.
Although I love the production of the concerts on the main stage, it is the super lounges with there up close and personal intimacy with the artists that always are a personal favorite.
Sunday included a heartfelt tribute to the Clark sisters and felt just like the praise and worship you get at church on Sunday Morning. Keke Wyatt, Ledisi and Chrisette Michele were just a few of the artist who lent their soulful vocals to the tribute.
Oprah Winfrey, a first time Essence Festival attendee was meant to be a surprise guest of Iyanla Vanzant who could not make it due to medical reasons. Queen O solidified her place in my mind as my favorite auntie- her wisdom, wit and empowerment had everyone looking for an usher to pass a tissue and we all clearly would have given up coin should a collection plate been passed around.
Her overall message was what God has for you is part of your own divine destiny with a key focus on the power of intention. She dropped such jewels as:
“You don’t get what you wish for, you don’t even get what you hope for, you get what you believe.”And “You don’t get celebrated wanting what someone else has.”
She also introduced the cast of her highly anticipated OWN show Queen Sugar and director Ava Duvernay joined her on stage as well.