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20 Jul 2013

Essence Fest 2013 from Maxwell to Jill Scott to Beyonce, music and empowerment

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July 20, 2013 Category: Entertainment Posted by:


(Photo by Patricia Hawkins)


By Diane Larche’


The 19th annual Essence Music Fest presented by Coca-Cola Company brought a record 540,000 people to New Orleans to enjoy four days of music, empowerment seminars, food and fun over an extended Fourth of July Weekend. Because the holiday fell on a Thursday this year, festival goers got an extra day of free outdoor concerts and family reunion style picnics as a bonus.


Some of music’s  biggest names were in the house, ranging from Beyoncé who brought the entire “Mrs. Carter World Tour” experience (including 10 costume changes) to the New Orleans Superdome main stage to acts like Teddy Riley and Black Street, Trey Songz, Jill Scott, Maxwell, LL Cool J, Solange, Keyshia Cole, Janelle Monet, TGT, Charlie Wilson and New Edition who helped take listeners back or showed them something new on  the main stage and super lounges. 


PHOTO: New Edition

(Photo by Patricia Hawkins)



During interviews at the festival, Scott, a Philly native, discussed her latest project Lullaby, “ which she said was an album for both aduts and children. She also said that were it not for motherhood, she couldn’t have created it because she had no understanding of the depth of that kind of love.  She declined to elaborate on her second project saying only that “It will be different on your ears because I can’t stay in the same place or I’ll die. I have to keep moving and I’m very excited about the next project.” 


Black Street who performed in one of the Super Lounges broke into an impromptu rendition of popular hit recorded nearly 20 years ago-”No Diggity” for the media. Teddy Riley, Black Street’s leader and the man credited with creating the  New Jack Swing  genre of the early 1990s, says that Black Street will be changing its name iin the not too distant future after recording a final single under that moniker. Riley, who has written and produced for a variety of artists, was joined by Dave Hollister, Sherman “ J- Stylez” Tinsdale, Lenny Harold and Tony Tyler, current members of the group. 


PHOTO: Maxwell

(Photo by Patricia Hawkins)



Festivalgoers  arrived in droves daily to hear from speakers like Kenya Moore, Iyanla Vanzant, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bishop Noel Jones and others in addition to the music. There was also a tribute to gospel great Donnie McClurkin and Tremaine Hawkins and beauty make overs from the My Black is Beautiful Experience and its brands, CoverGirl, Queen Collection, Pantene Relaxed & Natural, Olay, Oral-B and Crest, Gain, Charmin and Bounty. 


Festivalgoers could also participate in test drives sponored by Ford Motor Company,  sample McDonald’s new selection of fruit smoothies and check out the latest technology from Verizon during the festival.


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