Essence Fest 2018: Here’s What You Missed

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

This year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans was four days full of celebrity performances, conversations on activism and how to stay “woke.”

Queen Latifah and Essence Ventures CEO Richelieu Dennis are giving back to black community’s female creators by announcing a $20 million investment partnership for the Makers and Creators fund.

The $20 million is just a fraction of the $100 million the SheaMoisture CEO said he plans to invest in black owned businesses.

Essence says the fund’s first partner will be Queen Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and according to Dennis, it will ensure Black creators “can own our content and not just be work for hire.”

He continued to say, “This journey is rooted in the fundamental belief that economic inclusion is our human right. We have to invest in each other to make sure that’s a reality,”

The Girls Trip actress, rapper, and female phenom entrepreneur  took the stage Friday and brought with her a slew of other successful black women to give the Essence Fest crowd a true “Ladies Night.”

New singer and hit sensation, H.E.R. caught up with Queen Erykah Badu for a photo after their performances Friday night. Badu performed with Jill Scott and the Roots in a special ensemble. Other artists to perform Friday night included Doug E Fresh Curation feat. Kool Moe Dee, Dres, Whodini, Lady of Rage, YoYo, DJ Captain Charles, as one of Doug E. Fresh’s three nights of performances.

@therealdougefresh #teddyriley #essencefestival2018

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Maxine Waters was honored by Angela Rye on day 2 of the festival by getting the crowd of festival goers to chant, “We Stand With Maxine.” The chant was started in response to the new alt-rightist uproar against the congresswoman after she urged her following to stand against President Trump’s immigration policies.

Waters responded to alleged death threats last week at an immigration rally, boldly telling those who threatened her they had better “shoot straight.”

DVSN stopped by the Essence Festival and gave a special performance of their 2017 album, Morning After.

Mary J. Blige set a look onstage with her outfit styled by fashion legend, Dapper Dan. On top of her success at Essence Fest last weekend, the singer announced she and LL Cool J’s wife, Simone L. Smith’s new line of jewelry, Sisterlove.

Fantasia had the stage lit after her mainstage performance on Saturday. Check out her full performance here.

Before her headlining performance Sunday night, music icon Janet Jackson gave back to some of her fans by giving four moms VIP tickets to the festival and professional makeovers.

Earlier in the week, there was concern whether the star would still show for her performance after the death of her father, Joe Jackson, the week before. Jackson thanked her fans for their well wishes and assuaged their concerns by announcing she was still on her way to perform.

Other performers during the festival included Snoop Dogg, Ledisi, Ro James, Daniel Caesar, Xscape, and Kelly Price. For more highlights on the festival, check out the EssenceFest instagram or Twitter.

WHUR Contributor

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