So if you are connected with me on social media, saw me in person or talked on the phone over the last month, you’ve heard me yapping about the 2013 ESSENCE Festival. It was my second one attending as an editor at ESSENCE, after a phenomenal experience last year. And it was even better than I could have imagined. Our team works hard on the 4th floor of a midtown office building in New York City. And there is absolutely nothing like being up close and personal with the men and women we serve in the sweet and sweaty New Orleans. I couldn’t possibly fit all the amazingness in a post, but wanted to be sure to share a few of my highlights.
Throughout the weekend the beauty of love was on full display. I felt especially blessed that my parents were both in NOLA and discovered my dad knows all the lyrics to “This is How We Do It” after we had a rap off in the middle of Bourbon St. They also got the chance to see me in action hosting our Sexy At Any Age panel. It’s not everyday your parents gets to hear you ask a sexologist about orgasms or getting it on after menopause. I also loved seeing Brandy and her fiancé hang with Niecy Nash and her husband, then Niecy surprised Brandy with a fab bracelet to celebrate her first ESSENCE Festival performance. Super cute!
Will Packer had a lot of ladies screaming (and a few men squirming;) when he proposed to his girlfriend on the ESSENCE Festival Mainstage. The couple met at the festival four years ago, so only right he ask for her hand at the event. When I spotted them backstage a few minutes before Beyonce took the stage, I had to congratulate them – and also get the tea on their meeting. And it felt right out of a script from one of Will’s movies. He spotted Heather on a yacht event her company had organized. She was sitting at a table with friends and family. Instead of heading right over, he told his tipsy friend to go over first. Of course the friend went over and was a hot mess. He then went over after to apologize for his friend (Rule 336 out of the Mack Manual) and introduced himself. Now they are getting married.
So as Cori Murray tweeted, I’ve been excited for Beyonce at ESSENCE Fest since it was announced in January. And the show did not disappoint. And I guess I was a little too hype when Grown Woman came on because security guard came over to tell me to stay in my row. She then got a full serenade of sass as I belted “I’m a grown woman, can do whatever I want” just for her. I loved seeing her get the crowd saying “heeeyyyy Mrs. Carter”
It was amazing to see men and women come out to support speakers, artists and professionals they love. It gave me my whole brown girl life to see Melissa Harris Perry taping the show right in the New Orleans Convention center. I also got a slither of what it was sometimes like for the Jacksons as women rushed the stage for TGT.
The food is phenomenal. Famous faces everywhere. Music gets you out your seat. But by far the sweetest thing about Essence Fest is the people. Everyone brings their best self and it is beautiful to behold. The compliments are endless from woman to woman as we celebrate each other. Even in crowded lines, you hear excuse me or sorry, instead of folks ready to fight. My most humbling moment is seeing Margaret B. Smith display her collection of ESSENCE magazines at the festival each year. You can’t pay for that type of support and loyalty and she makes me work that much harder.
Tell me your favorite ESSENCE Memories below!