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Community Advocacy Organization


Updated: Jul 4, 2023

(Photo by Paras Griffin)Top Left: Wizkid; Top Right: Lil Wayne; Bottom Left: Sandra Denton and Cheryl James of Salt-N-Pepa; Bottom Right: Tems

New Orleans, Louisiana — July 2, 2023 —The 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola®, attendees were served unforgettable experiences starting the day off with ESSENCE Get Lifted™: Gospel Celebration with Erica Campbell, Tweet, and a surprise performance by Young, Gifted & on Fire. Panels continued throughout all of the daytime experiences, including the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum™ HQ, which hosted a historic roundtable conversation with America’s leading Black mayors; ESSENCE Authors™ with Michelle Williams and Jeezy; and Beautycon: ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ Edition with Aliyah’s Interlude, IAMDDB, and Jodie Woods. Capping off the day were the nighttime performances by headliner Megan Thee Stallion alongside Tems, Angie Martinez, Eve, Salt-N-Pepa, Trina, and more! New Orlean’s own Lil Wayne brought the house down with a surprise performance to bring Hip-Hop 50 to his hometown on the Superdome stage, during this year’s festival.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 02: (L-R) Barkue Tubman, Yo-Yo, and K. D. Aubert speak onstage during the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 02, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

The daytime experiences at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center rounded out the weekend perfectly, leaving attendees with a lasting high of joy. Highlights include:

  • ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum™ HQ featured panel discussions with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell moderating a conversation with Major Eric Adams of NYC, Major Karen Bass of LA, Major Sylvester Turner of Houston, Major Justin Bibb of Cleveland, and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial.

  • The connection between Hip-Hop and Gospel was celebrated at ESSENCE Get Lifted™: Gospel Celebration with performances by Erika Campbell, Tweet, Cory Stewart, Authentically Anointed, Dee-1, Wande, and a surprise performer Young, Gifted & on Fire. A riveting sermon was delivered by Pastor Jamal Bryant, who encouraged the audience to walk in with their purpose. This is the ultimate Sunday ritual of spiritual communion through song, dance, and fellowship.

  • Taking the ESSENCE Stage™ were YoYo, Roxanne Shanté, and KD Aubert for a powerful conversation titled Who You Callin’ A B*tch moderated by God-is Rivera, Chief Content Officer at Essence Ventures. The discussion went in-depth on the contributions of women, the growth of Hip-Hop culture, the politics of sexy, and reclaiming identity.

  • ESSENCE Authors™ saw Michelle Williams and Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins for a panel and fireside chat surrounding mental health, the evolution of their business acumen, and the ways they have stayed relevant in the music industry.

  • Beautycon: ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ Edition featured a panel discussion on Owning our Global Blackness: Black is the Beauty Standard with Aliyah’s Interlude, IAMDDB, and Jodie Woods on how Black beauty standards globally continue to revolutionize the beauty industry.

  • ESSENCE Studios Film Festival™ continued to showcase storytellers across the African diaspora going into today’s daytime experiences. Directors Deon Taylor, Reggie Bythewood, and Richard Lawson joined moderator Tommy Oliver to discuss their career trajectory, the obstacles they overcame on the road to success, and how they found support for one another while navigating Hollywood as Black directors

For the nighttime performances, 3x Grammy Award-winning artist, Megan Thee Stallion, showcased her impact on modern women rappers, rounding out our first-ever all-female Hip-Hop lineup. Radio icon Angie Martinez brought a golden celebration of the women who changed the face of Hip-Hop and influenced culture with a curation of performances by Eve, Salt-N-Pepa, Remy Ma, Trina, and New Orleans’ very own Mia X. Additionally, Wizkid, afro beats hitmaker, and Grammy-award winning artist, joined the closing night along with R&B songstress Muni Long and Tems. The night was hosted by Abbott Elementary breakout star Janelle James, with Hip-Hop classics and remixes to keep the party going from DJ Spinderella.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 02: Tems performs onstage during day 3 of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ at Caesars Superdome on July 02, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Stay tuned for additional updates, imagery, and event details from day three of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola as the events continue through July 3, 2023.

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