Every year, thousands of beautiful, black people and occasionally those of other ethnicities, travel to New Orleans, LA for the Essence Festival the weekend before the fourth of July. Every year, during the day, there are free events at the Convention Center and at night a line-up of amazing artist at night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
This year was my first year going and the only thing I can say about it is that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to be on the planning committee for Essence Festival 2018. I mean don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed myself, but there are some things that I would definitely change.
Thursday evening, was the first annual “Celebrity” Basketball game for Essence Festival hosted by Master P. Okay, so let me tell y’all, that this damn flyer said Trey Songz and Terrence J amongst other celebrities were going to be there. When I tell y’all not a sight of Trey Songz or Terrence J was seen and that I was pissed off beyond belief. I was pissed off. Master P was there so of course Romeo was there, Kodak Black, Ray J (who I didn’t even recognize until I saw a picture on Instagram), Safaree, Silkk the Shocker, and probably a couple of other “celebrities” I didn’t recognize were there. My thing is, if you’re going to advertise and host a Celebrity Basketball game, make sure you have some good celebrities there, that people wouldn’t mind paying to see. I honestly feel like Master P called these people the day before the game and asked if they could be in it. There were WAY too many celebs at Essence Festival for you to have someone like Safaree and Ray J in the game. Kofi Siriboe, Jay R. Ellis, Lance Gross, Lorenz Tate, Bryshere Gray, Mack Wilds, etc. My goodness the list goes on and you mean to tell me you couldn’t hit up not any one of them to come play in this basketball game?
Friday morning, I called a Lyft and made my way to the Convention Center. Once I walked in, I was amazed at how big and how many beautiful black women I saw! J Essence Festival basically gives African American artists, writers, craftsmen, culinary artists, businesspeople and others a chance to showcase and sell their talents. The Essence Marketplace includes a bunch of different vendors who are selling things from clothes, jewelry, art, food, etc. You also have companies such as Crème of Nature, Shea Moisture, Cantu, African Pride, etc. giving out free products. There are also business related seminars to empower African American men and women. Celebrities also grace different stages to do interviews for example I saw Issa Rae, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Al Sharpton, the cast of Queen Sugar to name a few. All-in-all it is an amazing 3-day star studded event and I truly enjoyed myself at that.
The Friday night concert, Mainstage artists included Rhonda Ross, Afrika Mamas, Junior, India Arie, John Legend, and Diana Ross and in the Superlounges they had Moses Sumney, Yuna, Coline Cruezot, Emily Estefan, MC Lyte, Gallatn, Ro James, PJ Morton, Kelly Price, Heels Over Head, Doug E. Fresh, Goldlink, and Afrosoul. Okay, now this is why I want to be a part of the planning committee. I believe that Essence Festival has the potential to be GREAT and I mean GREAT. Clearly they are already good, because they have been going strong for as long as I’ve been alive, however the Friday night concert was empty as hell and I believe it has a lot to do with the artists that they choice. WHO wants to see Diana Ross? I know boo didn’t need the money because she straight on it, so y’all definitely could have chosen someone else. And WTF is Rhonda Ross and Afrika Mamas. If you want the attendance rate to be high and to continue being high at Essence Festival, you have to bring people that WE KNOW and WANT TO SEE. Half the people on this list, no one would drive HOURS to see, seriously! If they were going for a neo soul vibe for Friday, they could have had John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, LeToya Luckett, Estelle, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Robin Thicke, dammit anybody but Rhonda Ross, Afrika Mamas, Junior, and Diana damn Ross. And I’ll be honest, just like half of the dome, I left right after John Legend.
Okay, let’s get to Sunday. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Over half the Superdome was there to see XSCAPE, yet Essence Festival thought it was a smart idea to have them in a Superlounge and have that trash ass Master P and NoLimit set on stage for 2 FREAKING HOURS. TWO, not 30 minutes, not one hour, not even an hour and a half, but 2 FREAKING HOURS. WHAT?????? I would have much rather they gave Master P half an hour, Elle Varner or even June’s Diary a half hour, and XSCAPE two hours, but NO, they gave Master P 2 FREAKING HOURS dude. Thank God for Mystikal and Snoop Dogg to somewhat save the day, but omg. Chance the Rapper was the last performer and I personally feel like you needed to have somebody if not just as good damn near as good as him to lead up to Chance. People were literally leaving because Master P’s set was so terrible. I am just so appalled and baffled that he was even chosen to be on the stage. I feel like Master P paid Essence for a 2 hour set and practiced the morning of. How do you forget the words to your own song? LOL, besides Master P’s horrendous set, Chance came out and KILT it and I am not saying that because I really love me some Chance, but he legitimately killed it. You could see the passion he has for this. He has so much charisma and charm that he is freaking adorable and hard to not like.
All-in-all, I enjoyed myself in New Orleans and wouldn’t mind moving and living there and I enjoyed the Essence Festival and am actively seeking how I can be on the planning committee for 2018 or even 2019.