Being the live music baby that I am, I was heartbroken to not be able to make it to this year’s Essence Music Festival. Did you go? If you did, I’m jealous!

From everything I’ve read so far, the event was spectacular and the lineup was SICK — Kanye, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Jill Scott, Ledisi, the reunion of LaBelle, Chrisette Michele, Chris Rock — who I just saw perform live for the first time last Tuesday night. He KILLED it! I’m sure he had the festival in stitches.

You best believe I’ve been getting my at home YouTube party on — I won’t let distance keep me from having a good time! Looks like Mary tore it down, Rhianna’s Umbrella was a big singalong, and OMG Patti LaBelle and Ledesi sang If Only You Knew. I would have been in TEARS if I were there. Oh, that’s just too beautiful for words. And what a moment for Ledisi! I’ve been sleeping on this talented bella for way too long now, and to see her take the stage next to a living legend and hold her own (and then some) is truly remarkable. Thanks and big props to Jawn Murray, AKA Hollywood Jawn for posting so many amazing performances. I could feel the magic coming right on through the computer!

Jawn captured the highlight of the festival, LaBelle’s reunion, as well as Chris Brown singing my favorite song of his, and also his cover of Rock With You that I’m sure the audience was loving. There’s video footage of the fun at Essence’s YouTube page, Black Gives Back has a great recap, and my homies from Concrete Loop posted a gang of photos. (I see you, Angel! I gotta go next year).

Frankie Beverly and Maze closed down the show on Sunday night, and I’m sure they performed my favorite song — Can’t Get Over You. Here it is, to ease you into Tuesday.

Did you make it out to the festival this year, bellas and fellas? Tell me all about it!

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von says:
July 8, 2008, 12:41 am
that sounds like an utterly amazing lineup!! I too am jealous of those who went, I would have rocked out with a huge smile on my face :-D what talent!
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
July 8, 2008, 8:35 am
I will be there next year.I am so tired of wanting to travel,but to afraid to fly.I will put my fear of flying aside ,and go next year.
nolagirl says:
July 8, 2008, 9:06 am
I'm from New Orleans I go every year.... it was as great as you think it was. GO! We we want you to we need you to, AND if you buy tickets now you can get all 3 nights for a reasonable price. there are events during the day and the music @ night, super lounges and local artist as well as the posted big acts. I can't imagine you not going and having a great time. GO If for no other reason than the natural hairstyle inspirations you get just walking around the superdome that weekend. I have new plans for my puff now.
Wes says:
July 8, 2008, 9:14 am
I've never been to the Essence Music Festival but I'm gonna make it one of these days.... @ Mrs. Mckinzie: Don't let life pass you by!!! I don't like flying either but I LOVE to travel so I just suck it up and get on that plane. Otherwise I'd never get to see how beautiful this world really is which is totally unacceptable.
bella says:
July 8, 2008, 10:24 am
I will definitely make the extra effort to go next year, nolagirl. I knew all about the musical element, but to be honest I was more excited about the community efforts, the Carol's Daughter pop up store, the panels and other events. So definitely NO will see me in a year!
Danielle J says:
July 8, 2008, 10:27 am
I went to the very first festival and haven't been back since. If these lineups continue, I'll be purchasing tickets now for next year.
Amanda says:
July 8, 2008, 3:09 pm
Girl...don't feel bad because I wasn't able to make it this year either. I heard it was a success though. How could it not be with performances from people like Jill Scott and Patti right? And Keyshia Cole was there too??? I know she stepped on the stage looking sounding fabulous and looking fly. I swear her style reminds me from Bianca from Toyota's "If Looks Could Kill" webisodes. Do you know who I'm talking about? if not then you have to check homegirl out to see what I'm talking about. Bianca is an aspiring fashion assistant,(played by Femi Emiola, Wicked Wicked Games), who is a prime example of a woman who’s got it going on. I’m talking the dream job, a man who’s got all the ladies drooling, and the spice to keep it all together when hell hits the fan. I work for Toyota by the way, so you know I've got the scoop. Think James Bond meets Sanaa Lathan in “Something New”, Bianca is the girl who isn’t afraid to run in her Louboutin heels! Link: Once you check it out you'll know why her and Keyshia go hand in hand. Lol. Don’t forget to check out the fourth episode—Family Jewels—which was available as of (7/7). This girl is definitely a ride or die chick, especially when it comes to family. Mess with them and you’re definitely messing with her. You’re probably going to get reeled in so don’t be surprised. You seem to be up on game on what's hot and current, so I know that this is something that you would be interested in. Don't forget to hit me up and let me know what you think, or if anyone else hs questions or comments about it as well. Looking forward to the chit chat! Best, Amanda Clouden ILCK Ambassador
Get Togetha. says:
July 8, 2008, 3:12 pm
Been to New Orleans-twice! Stayed at Hotel LeCircque. But never to the Festival. The times that I've been to New Orleans are always etched in my fondest memories cause the NO is fun. The only downside is that the whether is so tropical hot that you can cut it with a knife. But there's so much history, music, and culture in New Orleans that you don't even think about the heat after a while.
Tracey says:
July 8, 2008, 6:57 pm
Thanks for the link love! I didn't attend this year, but I attended last year - the concert line up was great as well as the community forums and marketplace. Plus, the beignets at Cafe Du Monde were amazing!
Y M Williams says:
July 9, 2008, 5:51 pm
It was off the chain!!! It was wonderful and inspiring to see so many Black men and women in one place. I've turned this event into an annual vacation. My kids and I even took a picture with Tasha Smith while we were at the mall. Lisa Price was so kind to let us take a picture of her also. Her Carols Daughter store was laid out and was soooo... relaxing. This year seemed to have just as many people then last year. I finally got my own Essence magazine cover. Every concert was worth it and no one dissapointed me. When Patti sang "You are my friend" I almost lost it. There were long lines everywhere but I'm a patient person and I can't wait until next year. I thank God for the opportunity!
excellentia says:
July 9, 2008, 6:39 pm
hey bella! I went- was my second time was bittersweet occassion for me because from time to time my mid would lapse from enjoyment to those katrina victims and them being in the convention center or in the superdome the events: the daytime events at the convention center was a magical free for all...algebra blessett, dwele and anthony david all performed for free at the coke stage!...and all the goodie bags was ridiculous! jill scott was on point as always...ledisi tore it down in the did raheem devaughn and chrisette michelle...gil scott heron sounds as good he was 30 yrs ago!...keyshia cole sounded well...mary killed it! maze (and they give it they all every single time I see them...theyll be in miami aug 2nd!!!) was on the stage and gave it their all from 1230 to 230...we ddnt get back to the room until at least 5am! and another thing...there were so many folks in obama shirts and pins...that simply warmed my heart...
excellentia says:
July 9, 2008, 6:41 pm
oh and all the black couples holding hands made me want to fall in love hill harper waived high to me bill cosby cleaned up his act some its not what you say but how you say it juanita "buynum" sold people some more of her kool aid (and had the nerve to have a detail escort her to the walmart booth for autograph signings) i have never walked so much in all my life! here's to next year!
Ola says:
July 9, 2008, 10:15 pm
Angie Stone's set was off the hook. She brought on one of her pals from the Sequence, Cheryl the Pearl and they rapped & sang funk u up. After that she then brought on the sugar hill gang and the whole place erupted. This was a highlight for me.
July 12, 2008, 12:34 pm
Hey Afrobella. I am the MAIN STAGE HOST for the fest and have been for the last 5 years. First let me say...YOU MUST attend next year because it will be the 15th Anniversary show. THEY WILL BE PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS. Beyonce' is already confirmed and many favs will also be added. This year brought a new production company and a new look to the mainstage. Also this was the first time [since I've been hosting] that Essence had a night just for the younger set. NICE MOVE. J HOLIDAY started off the fest. His song "I WANNA PUT YOU TO BED" is no doubt his signature joint. However, he's a little short dude so of course he'll put you in a BUNK BED. You pick the top or bottom. RHIANNA followed with her usual glitz and glam. Then the little cuties screamed and cried at the sight of CHRIS BROWN and he gave them exactly what they wanted...A SHOW. High tech, dancers, and killer band. All the sugar and spice had left the building after CHRIS, because the main course was on the way. Admittedly, I was never a fan of KANYE WEST for all the obvious reasons. But maaaaaaan, that BROTHUH IS NO JOKE. No frills, dancers, or sweet songs. He spat out lyrics like a machine gun. TRUE HIP HOP lovers got their money's worth. INCREDIBLE!!!! LEMME KNOW IF YOU WANT MORE INFO ON THE FEST. YOU CAN THE MOST FROM THE HOST. HIT ME LATER! I have always wanted to see one of my personal favs on the big stage and this year MUSIQ SOULCHILD did not disappoint.
afrodisia says:
July 16, 2008, 6:31 pm
The Essence Festival was fabulous! Although I've been back for over a week and I'm still recovering. I am a Caribbean girl and the heat made me feel like I was having both hotflashes and flashbacks to Jamaica. The music was great. I was only able to get tickets for Saturday, which I was initially bummed out about, but after seeing Musiq Soulchild, LL (swoon!), my girl Jilly from Philly, and the incomparable Miss Patti, I am putting my pennies together for next year. Trust!
nolachic says:
July 17, 2008, 8:44 am
Ya gotta come down next year if not for the music maybe the great mind opening seminars.It is the ultimate black family reunion; although we did have a very diverse group in attendance this year it was a beautiful thing.Mrs.Blige tore it completely down. Hope to see you all next year for good music,good food and good company.ENJOY YOUR DAY.