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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Essence Fest heats up as hip-hop celebrates 50th anniversary | Entertainment / Lifestyle


Heat and hip-hop have been key features of the festival Essence Cultural Festival.

But this weekend, as Soaring temperatures cause Interstate 10 to bend During hip-hop’s landmark 50th anniversary, attendees flooded downtown to celebrate black culture, fashion and music, both of which seemed to take on new intensity.

“You could tell they were sweating,” said Joanna Lewis, a Gentilly resident who runs a store on Julia Street and Magazine Street, with freezers stocked with water, tea, sports drinks and pickles .

Wearing a long-sleeve UV-blocking shirt and a fan around her neck, the veteran was snapping up her wares as shoppers fisted up iced coffee and water bottles.

“I just bought five bottles of water,” said Sarah Grant, a tricycle driver who has worked at Essence for 11 years. “I did two rides in a row and then I thought, if I ride more, I’m going to throw up. It’s crazy…I don’t remember the city ever being this hot at the end of June.”

Anna Nguyen, director of NOLA Ready, said people of all ages and medical histories should Taking Dangerous Heat Conditions Seriously this weekend. Her agency has been in talks with Essence organizers to keep attendees safe and cool as a deadly heat dome continues to hover over the area, with the high temperature index topping 115 degrees as of Thursday, leading to Texas Thirteen people died, including one in Louisiana.

“These are absolutely unprecedented times,” she said. “The National Weather Service says we’ve broken records for heat warnings and it’s June. Last year, we had five heat warnings for the entire year. This year we’ve had eight.”

Elisha Sanders’ dressing strategy was for the hot weather, combining a wide-brimmed hat with pieces from her London Charles boutique in Memphis.

Candice Johnson and her friend Lajannelle Smith, who attended Essence for the first time from California, said she knew they needed water and sunscreen.

“It was so hot it was overwhelming,” Johnson said.

They devised a plan to keep themselves out of the hottest weather: convention center, indoor lunches, getting dressed for the concert. Both expressed excitement over headliners Lauryn Hill, Meghan Thee Stallion and Missy Elliott, among other artists, performing in honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.it’s a far away Old School R&B Artists Who has dominated the festival in history.

“This is the first time Essence has shown hip-hop on this level,” rapper and producer Jermaine Dupri told The Associated Press. “I asked them if they were ready for us to do an actual, uncensored show, and they said they were. Ready. I hope you all do the same. ”


Allen T. Lamb, Head of AFROPUNK Worldwide, speaks at the ESSENCE Cultural Festival Press Conference, Thursday, June 29, 2023 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. (Photo: Sophia Germer, nora netTimes – Picayune)

Dupri curated Saturday’s “The South Has Something to Say” segment, starring Big Boi, TI, Ludacris, Gucci Mane and Lil Jon.

The clip’s title is taken from a quote by Andre 3000 in which he spoke about the rising power of the Atlanta rap scene in 1995. Its legacy, and that of the Deep South, lives on, as evidenced by the tribute to hip-hop scrawled in permanent marker on Bevel’s “Dear Hip-Hop” installation: “Hip-hop! Without it we What will happen?” “Top 50 is a kind of resilience.” “The Message” changed my life. “Women in Hip Hop helped me realize my self-worth and who I am!” #happyandproud! “

Bevel, an Atlanta-based black men’s grooming company, created the “Respect Due” installation to celebrate the fusion of hairstyles (corntails, afros, waves) and hip-hop hairstyles. Marketing director Breann Davis (a big fan of Lauren Hill) said she was most excited about the tribute to the Southern artist. Black joyful celebrations continue to exert a powerful, positive financial and cultural force in the region.

Since its launch in 1995, New Orleans has hosted the Essence Music Festival almost every year. In 2006, the multi-day event was moved to Houston due to Katrina-related repairs at the Superdome, and in 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 shutdowns canceled the festival and then led to it again. held. Enter only virtual respectively.

Last year’s enthusiastic crowd welcomed the return of a new Essence Festival vice-president, a New Orleans native Hakeem Holmes The hotel, dubbed the “crown jewel of black culture,” has a 74% occupancy rate, according to the association Essence Festival 2022 Economic Impact Report.

Approximately 500,000 tourists visited New Orleans, spending an average of $181 per day, with an economic impact of $327 million. New Orleans company spokeswoman Kelly Schultz expects the economic impact to be $20 billion to $300 million this year.The caliber of visiting dignitaries and celebrities – including Vice President Kamala Harris and Oprah Winfrey – adding to the impact of the event.

“The Essence Festival is important to New Orleans not only economically but also culturally,” Schultz said in a written statement. “It sends a powerful message to the world that New Orleans was made for this kind of built for level activities.”

New York-based brand representative Jacqueline Lewis, attending Essence for the first time, summed up her experience in two words: “Amazing”.


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