HelloBeautifuls! It’s me, @Leighdav, Editorial Director of HelloBeautiful.com! Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling down to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. I can’t remember if this year marked my fifth or sixth time taking my talents to New Orleans for the annual musical and cultural fair, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. When it comes to EMF, I believe you either “go hard or go home”, and well, I go hard. As a single lady, I quite love the shenanigans a girl can get into while on the road. From picking up new friends to ending up at breakfast at 5 a.m. with a group of strangers coincidentally staying at my hotel, check out my four day diary full of the Essence Festival Press Junket experience.
July 4th, 2013 – Day 1
6:00 a.m.: Rise and shine and time to head for the airport. Not my favorite thing to do and even worse, I’ve got to make it all the way to JFK. (F)
11:00 a.m.: Land in New Orleans. Spent the plane ride yapping with @thefashionbombdaily. It’s official, we’re about to have a blast. (A)
12:30: Spotted! Lance Gross and Nicole Murphy in the airport! Nicole Murphy is way too beautiful for life. I’m stunned by her. (A)
12:40 Courtesy car service provided by Ford. A 2013 Ford Escape, 2013 Ford Focus, 2013 Fusion and 2014 Ford Fiesta arrive to provide us roomy transportation to the hotel. Later on in the weekend Boris Kodjoe will give an actual car away on the mainstage, but most impressively Ford is donating $50 to Breast Cancer Awareness research for every test ride taken at the convention center. (A+)
1:00p.m.: Nap time (Thank God!)
4:00p.m.: We head on over to Manning’s Restaurant for the My Black Is Beautiful “Imagine a Future” dinner. The 30 minute documentary directed by Lisa Cortes and Shola Lynch chronicles the journey of a young girl named Jeanette who learns to embrace her own beauty through a journey of self-discovery and a trip to South Africa. Executive produced by Beverly Bond, Founder of Black Girls Rock!, this was a powerfully touching story that reminded the room just how much our young girls are still struggling to feel beautiful in this world. There isn’t a dry eye in the house. When the film airs on BET, every Black woman and girl should tune in. (A+)
8pm ish: Outside Manning’s we catch the tail end of the 4th of July fireworks! Now it’s time to have some fun–except @thefashionbomb is tired from her trip to Europe and ditches me for the bed. I head to the hotel bar. (D)
9:00 to 11:00p.m.: Random drinks and convos with strangers and my new fav bartender Joseph! (A)
11:30p.m.: Solo trip to the Harrah’s. There’s a club inside and Mannie Fresh is DJing. I sweet talk a bouncer in to letting me the side entrance. Score! (A+)
Midnight: Meet random group of guys. Somebody’s brother lives in Harlem, blah blah. They’re all cool. Someone buys me a drink! (A)
1:00 a.m.: Bump in to high school & college girlfriends! Yay, now I have someone to play with! (A+)
1:30 a.m.: My girlfriends ditch me to go back to their hotel. (C)
2:00 a.m.: Meet a sexy firefighter who is the size of the state of Texas. We agree to meet at the courthouse in the morning and get married. I think that’s enough for tonight. Oh yeah, and Mannie Fresh is a fun DJ. Time to go. (B+)
Overall Day 1 Grade = B
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"