Every Fourth of July weekend, millions of people make plans to go to the beach, barbeques, picnics and pop fire crackers, but here in New Orleans it’s all about the Essence Festival. Every year since 1995, we proud New Orleanians plan our off days, hair and nail appointments around the festival schedule. I’m happy to say that I’ve been attending and mesmerized by the festival events since I was about 13 years old and this year is no different.
This year I attended the festival on Friday. As soon as I entered the convention center, I could feel the potent positive energy. It instantly permeated my spirit with warmth, excitement and anticipation of empowerment. As looked at the time, I realized that we (my mother, her best friend, my friend and I) were just in time to hear the phenomenal Lynn Whitfield, Cynthia Bailey, Alice Randall and their daughters speak for the “Mother/Daughter Journey” segment.
They each talked about what being a mother (or daughter) meant to them and how their relationships have evolved over time. They also spoke about how important it is to be honest, respectful and supportive of each other. I was entertained and touched to hear how highly they all spoke of each other. Each of their relationships reminded me of the strong, pure and loving bond I have with my mother.
After the “Mother/Daughter Journey” ended, I decided to stay for the “Secrets To Getting The Love And Life You Want” segment featuring the lovely DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good and Flex and Shanice Alexander. Boy was I in for a treat. Each couple and individual gave a testimony about their physical, financial and spiritual struggles and how God helped them overcome their battles. They each spoke about how they met their mates once they decided to be fully committed to God (including being celibate until marriage). DeVon and Flex spoke on the power of men praying, being faithful to your calling and how women should never run after or change for a man, and Meagan and Shanice encouraged women to embrace their true selves and to pray for a mate and let God do the rest. Each of their testimonies and words of encouragement reiterated what the Holy Spirit tells me daily, so I was truly inspired by their God-ordained messages.
After receiving so much inspiration, my friend and I decided to explore the main area. We had a chance to hear Avant bless the crowd with his velvety-smooth voice in the Ford sponsored area. A few minutes later we listened to one of the best female lyricist MC Lyte talk about life and love in the quad area. In the Verizon area, I was super blessed to meet and talk to the handsome spectacular singer Luke James. I watched tons of people do a dance-off in the Coca-Cola area to the classic song from School Daze ,“Da Butt”. And course last but not least I perused the marketplace area to see some of the best jewelry, purses, clothes and art in the country.
My experience at Essence this year did not disappoint. It was filled with laughter, enlightenment, joy, entertainment and most of all community (black community) love. Next year I look forward to having just as much fun or more.