Random – but can I just say I’m so happy to be in the skin I’m in! I haven’t always felt like that though, but it is nice to love the person I am today. The Essence Festival was filled with so many beautiful black people and all I could think was man I love our culture and our people! I mean from gorgeous hairstyles, to the outfits. Everyone looked BOMB, and I left the festival feeling so inspired.
There were speakers who discussed wearing natural hair in the workplace, self love, staying woke, & being active in our communities, as well as casts from some of my favorite shows such as Queen Sugar.
Some of the speakers included Queen Latifa, Monica, Iyanla Vanzant, and Jada Pinkett Smith. What I loved about the conference is the variety of things to do. You could walk the show floor and pick up free products from brands such as, Creme of Nature and Cantu. There were block parties at Ford, AT&T, and Coca Cola’s booths. Not to mention the Essence Eats section where there were live cooking demos, by some of the best chefs out there. After the demo free samples were given out.
There were also local food vendors who you could purchase food from for some New Orleans Cuisine!
After the conference there were shows each night. We saw artists such as Jhene Aiko, Diana Ross, Chance the Rapper, Solange, and John Legend. I def recommend going to a concert! But what we realized is that the conference/show floor exhibit is free, so you don’t need to buy a 3 day weekend package unless you want to see each concert every night. Next time I’d prefer to maybe just pay to see one or two concerts, instead of getting the 3 day package. We were drained by the time we went to the conference each day and then the shows each night. On top of that of course we partied in New Orleans every night after the concerts, so talk about longggg nights and early mornings.
Also, next time I would book a hotel way further in advance so that we can stay right in the heart of the city. That saves money in the end, because we ended up spending a pretty penny on Uber Fee’s. If you’re in a good location you can save a lot of money by being able to get on the trolley.
A few additional tips for first timers:
1. Make sure to download the Essence Festival App before you go and try to plan out your days! There will be so much going on and you don’t want to get overwhelmed. The app will let you create your schedule of events for the weekend, and it’ll send you reminder push notifications throughout the conference.
2. Pace yourself. Yes, I know you’ll be in NOLA and there’s no such thing as slowing down there lol, but remember that after the conference are the concerts, and on top of that you’ll probably want to do the nightlife. So, just make sure to take your time throughout the weekend and actually be in the moment. Also, drink lots of water.
3. Be ready for the unexpected. You may randomly see a celebrity walk right by you as you’re going to the bathroom. Have your camera ready at all times LOL. We ran into Lynn Whitfield unexpectedly at a jazz club. So, yes be prepared!
All in all we had an AMAZING time, and I def want to go back next year! Did any of you attend the festival this year? I’d love to hear below.