Over 500,000 attendees ascended upon the crescent city during the weekend. Whether you choose to drive, hop on a flight, a train or a bus; the excitement of Essence Festival bonds us all.
Walking around the convention center, watching the different panels and performances going on can be a lot to take in. However, the team at Essence has developed their own app for the festival. It gives you the schedule for each day so that you are able to plan what you would like to attend.
The Roots curated a show that featured Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. That warm feeling you get when you walk into Mom’s house in the dead of winter after she has made a home cooked meal is the only way I can describe the blessing that happened on the stage that night.
Queen Ltifah stepped out on stage at the Superdome to perform music from her catalog. But even though the show may have started with Latifah, the theme of the overall set seemed to be one of unity. She surprised the crowd with appearances from Brandy, MC Lyte and YoYo to perform the “I Wanna Be Down (Remix)”. The moment took me back to when the video just came out and how many times the song was on repeat in my cassette player; the nostalgia. I need their skin care regmimen because I want to look like my 1995 self too.
Making a point to celebrate the future of hip-hop, “All The Way Up” cues up and Remy Ma comes out to a very receptive Essence crowd. This is not end, no, they are just getting started. They continued celebrate and spread love to each other as they introduce another living legend; Missy Elliott.
Missy PUTS ON A SHOW! There are only four artist that I would cross oceans to see, if I had to, and Missy Misdemeanor Elliott is one of them. She has always been about women coming together and celebrating each other, especially in hip-hop, so her dancers entering the stage to “Drip” by Cardi B comes as no surprise to me. By the way, her dancers are SICKENING! Missy enters the stage as “Drip” fades and “Get Your Freak On” hits the speakers. Just watching the first thirty seconds has me forgetting that I was working. “Work It”.was next and subsequently followed by other hits. I just want to attend a rehearsal, I don’t want any parts of the spotlight, I just love the process.
These ladies need no introduction, they stepped onto the scene UNAPOLOGETICALLY themselves and are still doing it to this day; Salt-N-Pepa. “I’ll Take Your Man”, “Whatta Man” and “Push It” were just a few of the songs they graced us with.
In the end, all of the ladies rejoined Queen Latifah on the stage for the performance of “U.N.I.T.Y” to culminate her set.
The Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul never disappoints. Mary J. Blige is everyones favorite aunt and it’s always a good time at a Mary show. Of course, she is synonymous for the breakup anthems. However, she can also sing about “Real Love” and let you know that through it all, she is “Just Fine”.
See what I did there?
The crowd at the convention center, while still very sizable, seemed to calm down from the previous two days. We spent time all over the building capturing and absorbing all of the information shared with us. We were able to catch a few jewels in the press room as well.
Unfortunately, later that night, I did not get the opportunity to check out Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Experience but like you, I will live vicariously through my business partners camera and holler a few “yassss’s” and cringe a few times, if needed, in the privacy of my home.
I did, however, catch Fantasia in action and if you have never been to one of her shows; you are doing yourself a disservice. Of course she performed hits like “When I See You” but what had the audience in tears at the end of her show was the story of her brothers recovery after a serious motorcycle accident. She performed “Lose To Win” after the clip showed him being in critical condition and then battling for normalcy again. He is going through therapy to learn to walk again, etc. During the song her brother came out on stage in his wheelchair to a roar of applause from the audience.
Finally! The moment many of us had been waiting on. Janet-freaking-Jackson! All of our favorites from today have learned from and/or emulated this legend. Janet Jackson, what young girl hasn’t tried the chair move from “Pleasure Principle”? My attempt did not end well but younger me would probably do it again.
There are no words that can possibly describe witnessing her artistry. Everything from the band to the dancers was on point. No step or cue was missed and the production was not over the top but just perfect.
Looking around, women and men in front and beside me, were having the time of their lives. Singing along, dancing and cheering Janet on. Who told her she could get up there and kill that stage like that? Showing out and giving her dancers a run for their money. I’m completely here for it.
While we are all about the music here at Concert Daily, Essence is so much more than that. Essence is about culture, about strength, about black excellence, and celebrating our Queens and Kings. There are so many great melanin empowered entrepreneurs and budding new talents to be celebrated. This festival brings them to the forefront.
So, will I drive seven hours to get to New Orleans again? Probably not, but I can tell you one thing, it won’t be likely that I will miss an Essence Festival.