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Community Advocacy Organization

DAY ONE OF THE 2023 ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE

THE 29TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL KICKED OFF HIP-HOP 50 CELEBRATIONS WITH ESSENCE VENTURES EXECUTIVES, REMARKS FROM VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS AT THE GLOBAL BLACK ECONOMIC FORUM™, AND THE FIRST-EVER AFROPUNK KREWE BALL

[Top left: Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States. Top right: ESSENCE Ventures President and CEO, Caroline Wanga, and Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell. Bottom left: Caroline Wanga, ESSENCE Ventures President and CEO, Chairman Richelieu Dennis, Revolt’s CEO Detavio Samuels and Group Black Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer Bonin Bough. Bottom right: Doug E. Fresh]


New Orleans, Louisiana — June 29, 2023 — Day One of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola® kicked off in its forever home of New Orleans. Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans and ESSENCE Ventures President & CEO Caroline Wanga and the executive leadership team, kicked off this year’s festival with the annual press conference, starting the weekend celebrations with opening remarks highlighting the yearly economic impact of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ on the local New Orleans community.

Celebrations continued throughout the day with the Global Black Economic Forum™, which featured an invite-only Access and Opportunity Summit at the Four Seasons, where members of The Biden-Harris Administration, including Vice President Kamala Harris, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Michael S. Regan, took part in discussions on issues ranging from the evolution of philanthropy to addressing inequity on corporate boards. The Summit engaged audiences in conversations around advancing equity and opportunity for Black communities across the country with history-making Black trailblazers, including Hip-Hop icons and game-changers Doug E. Fresh and D-Nice, CNBC Reporter and Anchor Deborah Helman and Ebony Thomas, respectively, Vice President of Partnerships & Engagement at Google Valeisha Butterfied Jones, and more.

JUNE 29: Robin Thicke performs onstage during the 2023 ESSENCE Ventures Media Upfronts at The Fillmore New Orleans on June 29, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ESSENCE)


During the nighttime experiences, AFROPUNK debuted at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ with the AFROPUNK Krewe Ball, taking the night by storm at the Joy Theater. Notable attendees included a performance by Durand Bernarr and DJ sets by LIL JODECI, DJ Chinua, DJ PR_CK, DJ B-HEN, and hosted by Ebony New Orleans.

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