The Essence Of Essence Fest With The Black Foodies
The Black Foodies
Since 1995, every Independence Day weekend has seen a pilgrimage to New Orleans. Thousands upon thousands of African-Americans descend upon the Crescent City for what we like to call a family reunion, of sorts. People from all walks of black life come together for a weekend of inspiration, food, fun and music. Essence Fest is the largest event celebrating black culture and music in the U.S. This year’s 2019 Essence Fest, held July 4- July 7, was its silver anniversary, celebrating 25 years of what has become a 4th of July weekend tradition for many in the African-American community.
During the day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center numerous DJs play party music, setting a festive mood. An enormous food court supplies a taste of New Orleans, as huge crowds attend forums where a who’s who of black intellectuals, entertainers, faith-based leaders, chefs and politicians hold lively discussions, sharing their latest and upcoming projects. Boris and Nicole Kodjoe launched their new fitness app, ‘Kofit’; Senator Kamala Harris discussed her run for President; the cast of STARZ: POWER discussed their upcoming season, along with a plethora of other forums and events. The daytime activities at the Convention Center are abundant, exciting and at no cost to the general public.
Cast and creator of Netflix’ Family Reunion, Actress Gina Torres
At night, the concerts commence at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with an international stable of talent gracing multiple stages. This year the main stage had artists the likes of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Mary J. Blige, Nas, H.E.R., MC Lyte, Musiq Soulchild, Timbaland and Missy Elliot, just to name a few. The superlounges had artists like Ginuwine, Rakim, Luke James, Scarface and 702. Between the main stage and the superlounges, Essence Fest supplied approximately 80 performers over the four day event. The highlight, in our opinion, was seeing our FFL (Forever First Lady), Michelle Obama, grace the main stage and have a great talk with Gayle King, discussing her new book, Becoming.
Actor Marcus Scribnet
Essence Fest isn’t confined to just the Convention Center or the Superdome. The entire city is infused with the energy of Essence Fest. One just has to venture out and enjoy everything New Orleans has to offer. The French Quarter is vibrant with all types of people enjoying a festive time, just strolling along and stopping for food, spirits and the live entertainment that is unique to the Big Easy. Another unofficial event during Essence Fest weekend is celebrity gazing. You can walk down Canal or Bourbon Street and see hip-hop artist and actor Common free-styling with a street performer or Leonard Roberts from the movie Drumline walking by and giving you a fist bump. This is the essence of Essence Fest…people from all walks of life coming together like one big family. The first Essence Fest was to celebrate 25 years of Essence Magazine and now 25 years later this festival has grown into an institution in African-American culture. If you have never been to an Essence Fest extravaganza we strongly suggest you go. Do yourself a favor and put it on your bucket list. And perhaps, we will see you there next year!