Essence Festival Bets on Itself for 25th Anniversary

This past weekend, Essence Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary, and thinking about how differently it handled the occasion from the way Jazz Fest celebrated its 50th is instructive. Like Jazz Fest, Essence Festival played to its base—African-American women. Two of the three headliners—Mary J. Blige and Frankie Beverly and Maze—are Essence Festival regulars, and Friday’s headliner—Missy Elliott—performed a confused set in 2015 that ended with the power cut on her before she had finished. 

Anderson .Paak Didn't Need the Weather to Generate Heat at Champions Square

Anderson .Paak knows that his face is his money. He named the tour that brought him to Champions Square Saturday night “The Best Teef in the Game Tour,” and he showed off his fine set of choppers all show. His face is so important that he mounted a camera on his drum kit so that even when he was playing, we could see him. 

There's More to Essence Festival 2018 Than Janet and Mary J. Blige

The Essence Festival starts this weekend, and it remains one of my favorite festivals in New Orleans. It’s a far less punishing way to see many of the acts that play Jazz Fest’s Congo Square Stage, but as they’re meant to be seen—suave, smooth, and not sweating their way through wardrobes that were never intended for the late afternoon Louisiana sun. 

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.

Truth Universal Looks to the Past for the "Future"

The title of Truth Universal's new album, Invent the Future, is optimistic on many levels. It implies that shaping your future is still possible, that it's not our of your hands. The phrase is a call to action. It's not "Play Xbox Until the Future Arrives" or "Mess Around on Facebook and See What Happens." It says get your hands dirty and do something.  

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