This year Essence Magazine hosted the 22nd Annual Essence Music Festival in the heart of the South, New Orleans, Louisiana. The weekend-long event featured nightly music performances by some of today’s favorite artists as well as a few of the classics, as well as family friendly activities at the convention center. The Essence Music Festival which was originally created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence was aimed primarily at African American females. Today the event is attended by a wide demographic but remains relatively unknown outside of the black community which to me is just fine.
While my opinion may sound somewhat rude let me explain. The Essence Music Festival was created in order to celebrate Essence Magazine’s 25th anniversary. Essence Magazine is a publication aimed at the African American community, namely women and that is something that hasn’t changed in the nearly 50 years it’s been in circulation. While it’s unfortunate that much of the world outside of the African American community is ignorant to this amazing event it’s their loss. It’s been made very apparent in recent days that we must take it upon ourselves as a people to celebrate the culture that we created. Today the Essence Music Festival doesn’t simply celebrate the Magazine’s success but rather looks to focus on the positive work that is being done by our people in music and business.
This year Essence also featured Beauty & Style panels as well as professional panels offering patrons information from business leaders and moguls on how they achieved their own success. Every year the Essence Music Festival looks to bring people together in a positive atmosphere and foster growth as well as numerous opportunities for people to learn and network. It just happens to be aimed at empowering the community that fostered it’s success, the African American community. The festival also doesn’t look to target one specific age group, it looks to bridge the gap across the generations by featuring panels, activities and musical performances that speak to every age group.
Other organizations have learned the importance of the Essence Music Festival and are beginning to tag on to the success that was built by Essence. During the Essence Music Festival weekend including Walker’s Legacy, a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business. Over the weekend Walker’s Legacy hosted a Business Brunch Summit which featured numerous inspiring speakers who told stories of struggle, success, and encouragement.
I point all of this out to say that while America may be waging a war against our people there are still positive moves being made. We as a people may just have to accept that if we want something done to further our move up the ladder we will have to do it ourselves and Essence Magazine is a key player.