Essence Festival 2015 makes Black community proud

Claudia Jordan, actress, model, reality television and radio personality. Former cast member of the The Real Housewives of Atlanta.             photos: Jay Pate

Claudia Jordan, actress, model, reality television and radio personality. Former cast member of the The Real Housewives of Atlanta. photos: Jay Pate

Celebrities and fans gathered from all 50 states and abroad to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend in a big way with the Essence Festival, held July 2 through 5, 2015, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This years headliners included Kendrick Lamar, Maze, Doug E. Fresh and Mary J. Blige.  A total of approximately 35 musical artist performed.

In addition to musical performances, the Essence Festival hosted more than 10 speakers, including Kevin Liles, Lynn Whitfield, Sybrina Fulton and Claudia Jordan. DJ Day Parties, featuring Funkmaster Flex, Spinderella, Biz Markie and DJ Drama were held throughout the festival at the Sugar Mill near downtown.

“I’m happy to be here. I’m looking forward to speaking. I enjoy interacting with the people and answering their questions. The fans are always very supportive and upbeat,” said Claudia Jordan, actress, model, and Reality TV personality.

The Essence Festival, AKA “the party with a purpose” has steadily grown, bringing back a-lister celebrities, since its origin 15 years ago.

Kevin Liles, Record Executive

Kevin Liles, Record Executive

“I’m very proud of the essence Festival. I’ve attended every year since its debut in 1995. I came here 15 years ago and fell in love with the platform. This event has something to offer everyone. It’s a great venue for new artist trying to get their career off the ground and for those looking to advance an existing career. The Essence Festival is a place to have fun, but it’s also a rich source of information for anyone looking to learn about the music business and many other topics,” said Keven Liles, music producer/manager and former president of Def Jam Recordings and executive vice president of The Island Def Jam Music Group from 1999 to 2004.

According to Liles he is always scouting for new acts.

“I look for talent with a message. When artists can express ideas and experiences through music, while getting the public’s attention at the same time, that’s powerful. That’s when I know I’m dealing with something/someone special,” he said.

Thousands of people attended Essence festival 2015. Many came from other states, some from other counties and others were locals. From sun up to the wee hours of the morning, the crowded streets were filled with smiling faces and laughter. The vibe of this years festival illum-inated  fun and unity.

“I’ve truly had the time of my life. I drove all the way from Alabama. I’m tired, but I would do it again,” said Wanda Giles. “The forums, concerts, parties, Oh my goodness, are just wonderful. I’ve never learned so much and had so much fun at the same time. Everyone is getting along. It seems like one big family reunion. I’m very proud of this event and I’m very proud to be black right now”

The Essence Festival is a major music festival hosted by ESSENCE Magazine every year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The original event, started in 1995, was supposed to be a one-time event to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ESSENCE magazine, which is primarily provided for African-American women.

Since then, Essence Music Festival has become the largest event that celebrates African-American culture and music in the United States.