For years I’d heard that the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans was an event to be saved for and anticipated eagerly. The legend of this annual celebration of live music and African American culture is huge. Every year it attracts many of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry. Women (and a few men) come out to celebrate music, life and culture in one of the most historic and unique cities in America. This year I worked with the wonderful people of Nothing But Hair Care and headed down to New Orleans with my favorite Chicago photographer, Chuck Olu-Alabi. Our goal? To capture the magic of my first ever Essence Music Festival. This is about to be a majorly photo heavy post. Ready?
We got to New Orleans on Friday morning, checked into our hotel, and immediately headed out to drink in the sights and sounds of the city. After a quick bite at Mulates (try the Catfish Mulate’s!) we headed to the New Orleans Convention Center, where the daytime activities of EMF were going down. By day, the Convention Center offered nonstop activity and fun for Essence Music Festival attendees. Art, afrocentric crafts, cultural displays, live performances, DJs, models, and SO much more. Here’s a little of what we saw there over the three day weekend!
Artistic renderings of Barack Obama. Pretty cool to see the different interpretations.
Chicago’s own DJ Niena Drake was on the ones and twos at the Verizon booth. She is always SO FLY!
I discovered these gorgeous young ladies rocking the earwings Erykah Badu wore to Lollapalooza and they were on sale at EMF! I got to try one on, and came REALLY close to buying it. (I think they’re available here).
I also got to meet Erykah Badu’s famous jeweler and man of mystery, Dr. Foots.
I had read about him from Angel on Fire and Where Did U Get That, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He’s not into the internet but if he had an online store, I think he’d do incredibly well!
Everywhere you look in the Convention Center, SOMETHING’s happening. A random conga line, or excited throng of people screaming cause a celebrity walked by. Characters dressed in wacky outfits. It’s definitely something to experience.
There is a LOT to see.
Throughout the days at the Convention Center, I’d randomly encounter friends of mine working behind the scenes to make the experience come to life! Here I am with the beautiful Nicole Marie Melton of Essence.com, she snapped my photo for the Street Style hair post.
I also saw the SUPER SWEET Tanika Ray and her lovely makeup artist Candace Corey. Tanika interviewed me on camera, can’t wait to see the clip!
On Sunday I caught a glimpse of my boo Dre Brown of Beautylish!! LOVE this woman and her energy. Now she’s making it do what it does at We TV in addition to reppin brown girl beauty at Beautylish. Dre is a force to be reckoned with and I always love seeing her!
I made sure to stop by the My Black is Beautiful booth, where my friends Kimmy of Cocobebe, Demetria Lucas AKA A Belle in Brooklyn, the one and only Bevy Smith, and incredible makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff were representing various P&G brands and meeting fans. Beautiful ladies came in to get samples, makeup touchups, hair help, and to meet these women they admire so much. That line STAYED deep!
Legendary makeup artist Reggie Wells was at the convention center just chillin’ and drinking it all in like regular folks. I was so pleasantly surprised to see him!
The convention center was definitely the SPOT for daytime action, but all around New Orleans little pop up suites and events were happening as well! On Saturday afternoon I had to make sure to stop across the street to show love to the Nothing But team at Fierce Fly and Fabulous, who were serving up natural hair knowledge and their incredible products which were going like hotcakes!
It’s always such a pleasure to see Master Barber Williams (@MasterBarberWMS) and customers were so excited to get their hands on the brand!
It was also really nice to meet Stephanie of Gulf Coast Naturals, who threw the Fierce Fly Fabulous event in the first place!
MANY of my blogging besties were in attendance at EMF, some of them hosting events for other brands, some of them just kickin it! It was so great to walk around and just randomly run into people I knew around NOLA!
Dr. Kari is one of my favorite people!! It was lovely to see her doing her thing!
Do you see this? This kind of thing NEVER happens. It’s a beauty natural hair blogger celebration! From left to right > Renae of In Her Shoes, Cassidy of Natural Selection, Danielle AKA Style N Beauty Doc, me, and Curly Girl Lexi!
And here’s Lexi, Danielle, Blake Von D, Christina of Love Brown Sugar, me and Ms. Jessica Andrews of The Glamazons Blog!
And here I am with Christina, Jessica, and Andrea Arterbery – Glamazons reunited!!
I finally got to meet the incredible Ursula Stephen in person and she is SO cool! And of course she remembered doing this interview together. Ursula is mad cool. Follow her @UrsulaStephen!
Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter has been an inspiration to me for many years now and it’s always such a pleasure to see her! Their pop up store was absolutely lovely.
Like I told you, I had Nothing But fun! And that’s just a condensed version of SOME of what I got into during the three days at Essence Music Festival. Last weekend was a total whirlwind of activity. This is just the daytime, I haven’t yet told you about the live music experience, or the famous faces I encountered along the way! Stay tuned, there are more EMF recaps in store!