Will Jack White's War on Smartphones Continue at Jazz Fest?

It’s hard to imagine that Jack White will be able to lock up people’s phones when he plays Jazz Fest Sunday, May 6, but that is the plan for the tour behind his upcoming Boarding House Reach album. Yesterday, he announced that “no photos, video or audio recording devices” will be allowed at his concerts. He’s not worried about bootlegging, though.

Jindenna, The Internet Win Essence Festival 2016

If you weren’t in the Superdome or the Convention Center this weekend, the story of Essence Festival was #closedforessence. A photo of a sign in Walk-Ons’ door that announced that the bar was closed for repairs started the meme as the timing, along with the history of bars and restaurants closing during the Essence Festival and Bayou Classic weekends, made the closure suspicious.

Kevin Hart, Kendrick Lamar Explore Blackness at Essence

[Updated] In a way, the Essence Festival is yet another measure of how different the experience is between white and black America. Thursday night, the festival sold out its three-year-old “Essence Now” night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with headliner Kevin Hart, who is only starting to find a white audience even though Hart’s 2011 “Laugh at My Pain” was one of the year’s top-selling comedy tours.

Kendrick Lamar Will Be Alright at Essence

Sunday night, Kendrick Lamar will close the Essence Music Festival in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It’s a time slot that has been punishing in recent years as such party-friendly hitmakers as Earth, Wind & Fire and Lionel Ritchie struggled to hold audiences that had seen the artists they came for—often Charlie Wilson or Mary J. Blige—and had to go to work in the morning.

Badu vs. Braxton - Who's Real at Essence?

[Updated] For most of the crowd in the Superdome Sunday for the end of the 20th year of the Essence Festival, the night was about Charlie Wilson and Lionel Richie. For me, the fireworks came early. The night opened with Tamar, who presumes to be on a single-name basis with the world. I, not being part of the world, needed a last name—Braxton—to give her context.

Mary J. Blige the Spectacle Saturday at Essence

After the spectacle of Beyoncé’s high-tech production last year at Essence Festival, it’s refreshing to have a year where the focus has been clearly on the performers. Neither Prince nor Mary J. Blige relied on technology or choreography for visual stimulus, though both had choreography that they could have done without.

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