Essence Fest 2017
Essence Fest 2017, you stole my heart. In the past, I imagined what my first Essence Fest experience would be like and the reality didn't even come close to my dreams. The OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) team and I went to cover Essence in all its glory for a special that will air on July 11th at 11pm PST. From the NOLA heat, to the amazing performances, interviews and everything in between, it was one for the books.
The first day, was mixed with hustle and bustle, two pairs of 6 inch heels, 3 outfit changes, several notecards and gratitude. I spent time with the cast of The Haves and Have Nots and their incredible fans getting a better insight on the show.
When I stepped on center stage for the first time, I looked out and said to myself "this is the largest stage you have ever been on" and as God would have it, I had never felt more alive.
The energy in the room, the peace in my heart and the reality that I was on that stage doing what I loveeee, it was like... well it was like a really dope carton of ice cream had been delivered to your door in an ice bucket attached to an envelope that had a million bucks in it lol. Yup, it was like that.
The second day was full on Queen Sugar galore! Hanging with the cast of Queen Sugar on center stage and the empowerment stage (even bigger than center stage) was amazing! On the empowerment stage, I moderated a conversation centered around inclusion and the importance of women on screen and behind the camera.
The last and final day of Essence was the perfect closing to an eventful week. Greeenleaf moments were around every corner! Hanging with Merle Dandridge, Lynn Whitfield, Deborah Joy Winans and Keith David was like hanging with family! Each of the shows had their own specific fans and some of those fans were fans of OWN Tonight! After a weekend of hard work, NOLA food, drinks and music sealed the deal. Chance the Rapper shut down the super dome performing hit after hit! In those moments I was surrounded by screaming strangers wearing grins from ear to ear; It was magic. I can't say it enough but God really showed out in ways I couldn't imagine! I'm so excited for you guys to see this experience brought to life. Make sure to tune in to OWN on July 11th at 11pm PST for a special episode of Essence Fest 2017.
PHOTOS BY: Curtis Taylor Jr.