This year, ESSENCE celebrates 20 incredible years of music, culture, community, empowerment and inspiration through their iconic annual Essence Festival. There’s always been four days each summer that no one can duplicate. There’s nothing like the Essence Festival!
Anyone who attends the festival will testify that this experience is nothing short of thrilling, sensational, and wondrous. If the headlining line-up of Grammy-award winners who are performing isn’t enough to convince you that your presence is needed, here’s five more reasons why you should attend the Essence Festival this year.
Networking & Culture. I had the pleasure of attending the festival last year and beyond being simply delighted to be in such beautiful city, I met so many powerful young men and women. From all the locals who take pride in giving us the best NOLA experience possible, to that girl I met from London rocking the flyest maxi dress ever and was totally ready for my street style photo series–there’s plenty to see and feel!
Delicious grub. I am certain that I gained at least 12 pounds that weekend. Everything is dipped in batter and fried to perfection (even the oreo cookies), and it’s nearly impossible to pass up those scrumptious beignets. Jesus made them with love and I would argue that they are sprinkled with magic fairy dust! I suggest that you make that the first place you stop once you land in New Orleans.
Inspiration. This is probably the best part of the weekend and the one part that you must witness for yourself. Once you enter the conference, there’s all kinds of “girl, get ya life” moments that will occur. This year you can take your pick from Alicia Keys, to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, to the incomparable T.D. Jakes. How’s that for a mega-church service?!
Throwbacks. When will you ever be able to see 112, Amel Larrieux, Doug E Fresh, Eve, Jagged Edge, Naughty by Nature, Stephanie Mills, and Tevin Campbell perform all in one weekend…under the same roof. And just think, I left out a few names!
Legendary Icons. One word. PRINCE! Ok, three words. Prince. Is. Performing! I think I have waited my entire life to be able to afford a Prince ticket and the time has finally come. Can you beauties imagine the kind fun that will be had on Friday night? Prepare to have a concert-induced case of laryngitis.
think know I’ve given you more than enough reasons to attend this year. Be sure to visit the Essence Festival site for all things fabulous for the weekend! Plus follow @HelloBeautiful on Twitter and @HelloBeautifulOfficial on Instagram for exclusive updates from the scene!
Check out this year’s amazing line up of performers in the gallery below!
1. See Who's Performing At The 2014 Essence Music Fest
The 2014 has an allstar lineup this year with The Purple One himself headlining. See who else is going to be hitting the stage in New Orleans this summer!
Come on Prince! As the 2014 EMF headliner, Prince is going to TEAR THE HOUSE DOWN!
3. EPIC!! Prince Billboard Awards 2013 Performance LIVE (BBMAS 2013)
The illest pit bull in a skirt is coming to the EMF Superlounge stage and honestly, it's been so long, we cannot wait to see what she's going to do!
5. Eve - "Gotta Man" Live (1999)
6. Elle Varner
As soon as this nerdy hottie hit the scene, we fell in love with her. She's got the voice of an angel, curls to die for and a body we have posted on our vision board. Elle's gonna tear down that Superlounge stage!
7. FEETV: Elle Varner- 'Sound Proof Room' Live
This is one of the best boy groups since New Edition and seeing them live is going to be absolutely everything. Our favorite crooning group will be getting panties thrown at them on EMF's Superlounge stages.
9. 112 - Cupid (Artist Spotlight on Planet Groove)
10. Erykah Badu
This is by far one of the artists that we're most excited to see at EMF! Badula Oblongotta will be hitting the mainstage and we can't wait to see what she's got up her ornate sleeve!
11. Erykah Badu "On & On" + "...& On" Live at Red Bull Music Academy Madrid
12. Jill Scott
Miss Jilly from Philly rocked the stage at the 2013 EMF, but in case you missed it, she's coming back for another stunning performance on the mainstage!
13. Jill Scott - He Loves Me Live - 2001
14. Mary J. Blige
The beautiful Queen of Hip-Hop Soul has just been added to the long list of amazing mainstage performers at EMF! She certainly knows how to put on a show, so this is not to be missed!
15. Mary J. Blige "No More Drama"
16. Stephanie Mills
This legendary songstress has given us plenty of hits like, "Feels Good All Over," "I Feel Good All Over," And "Home," so it's going to be incredible to see her on the Superlounge stage.
17. Stephanie Mills "I Feel Good All Over/Feel The Fire"
18. The Original Pinettes Brass Band
This band is the world's only all-female brass band, so seeing them on the Superlounge stage is going to be a treat.
19. The Original Pinettes Brass Band 3-23-2012
20. Sevyn Streeter
#TeamBeautiful absolutely loves this girl! She's come to fame as a singer-songwriter and has done songs from Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Alicia Keys, Tamar Braxton and more. Now that she's performing too, we can't help but be impressed by her amazing vocals.
21. Sevyn Streeter "It Won't Stop"
22. Sebastian Mikael
This classically trained singer-songwriter-musician caught the attention of music giant, Sylvia Rhone and has hit the ground running in his career. We'll make sure to check him out on the Superlounge stage.
23. Sebastian Mikael "We Are One"
24. Robert Glasper
This American jazz pianist and record producer has worked with everyone from Brandy, Jill Scott, Dwele, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Luke James, Emeli Sandé and Lalah Hathaway to name a few, so to see him rock out the Superlounge stage will be such a treat!
25. Robert Glasper Experiment - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Live on KEXP)
26. Raheem DeVaughn
There's something about a jazzy R&B singer that's just so sexy. We'll be ready to throw our panties on the Superlounge stage for Raheem.
27. Raheem DeVaughn Live Performance of "Guess Who Loves You More" & "Until"
28. PJ Morton
You may not know that PJ Morton is the keyboardist and background vocalist for Maroon 5, but now that he's doing his own thing and we're glad that he is! Can't wait to see him on the Superlounge stage!
29. PJ Morton - Love You More (Live)
30. Naughty By Nature
This legendary Hip-Hop group will be gracing the Superlounge stage and they are sure to bring down the house. Talk about a blast from the past!
31. Naughty By Nature - Hip Hop Hooray (live 1993) Part II
32. Marsha Ambrosious
Breaking away from the duo Floetry, Marsha's been able to make a musical name for herself. Her songwriting is possibly some of the most prolific of our time, but her vocals take her songs to the next level. She's going to be lacing the Superlounge stages and we're here for it!
33. Marsha Ambrosious "Butterflies" Acoustic
34. Liv Warfield
This girl has got one of the most distinctive and promising voices in alternative R&B soul, which is probably why she was chosen to rock the Superlounge stage.
35. Liv Warfield Live Performance, "Waiting," 10.10.08
36. Leela James
This soulful songstress has a voice that will haunt you. We can't wait to see her kill it on the Superlounge stage!
37. Leela James My Joy Live
38. Kourtney Heart
Congrats are in order for newcomer, Kourtney Heart, being added to the EMF Superlounge performer list. She was on the Superlounge stage last year, so she's got another chance to make you a believer!
39. Kourtney Heart Live at Essence Festival 2013
This amazing jazz group, made up of twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and musical compadre Anita Bias will be on the Superlounge stage and when you catch the ear of the legendary Prince, you know you're good. Prince has since become a mentor and advisor to the girls.
41. KING Performs "Hey"
42. Doug E. Fresh
Doug E. Fresh is one of the best Hip-Hop performers of all time. He's got amazing energy and not to mention his beatboxing skills are amazing! He'll be rocking out on the Superlounge stages.
43. Doug E Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew 1989 at the Apollo
44. Big Sam's Funky Nation
Admittedly, we're not too familiar with this funk band, but we're totally into their sound. Think James Brown instrumentals. Yes please! They will be rocking out on the Superlounge stages.
45. Big Sam's Funky Nation • Big Ole Booty
46. Amel Larrieux
This beauty broke away from Groove Theory and made a name for herself with her soulful sound and sweet vocals. We can't wait to catch her on EMF's Superlounge stages.
47. Amel Larrieux - Tell Me
48. Charlie Wilson
How could you not be here for Uncle Charlie?! This man has crossed so many generations, he's got fans of all ages! We're ready for some of those amazing ad libs on the mainstage.
49. Charlie Wilson Performs "Outstanding"
Ledisi's voice is nothing short of divine. We can't wait to see her vocal acrobatics at EMF this year on the mainstage!
51. Ledisi - In The Morning - Live Concert - 2013 [AMAZING]
52. Lionel Richie
Essence has just announced that this legendary crooner is joining the mainstage line-up. We're officially here for his classic hit, "All Night Long!"
53. Lionel Richie - All Night Long Live 1984 Can't Slown Down Tour