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Essence Festival wraps up a 4-day celebration of 30 years of Black culture


By: Greg Lewis

Published on July 8,2024, 12:30p.m. EST

The Essence Festival has been a cultural event that has brought people together from all walks of life and from many different parts of the world for 30 years.

Essence Festival is a celebration of black excellence and an opportunity to connect through conversations, shared experiences and, of course, wonderful music from artist who has helped shape society through time.

The nations largest honarable event for Black culture ended Sunday, July 7, 2024. The show had performances from Janet Jackson and a special tribute to Frankie Berverly & Maze, the soul band that closed the event for the festival’s first 15 years.

It was reported that Beverly (77) is walking away from live performances, and the group is currently on a farewell tour.

Others performances included Victoria Monét , Teedra Moses, Tank and the Bangas, Dawn Richard, SWV, Jagged Edge, Bilal and Anthony Hamilton.

Barkue Tubman-Zawolo, chief of staff, talent and diasporic engagement for Essence Ventures, told The Associated Press the festival helps connect the global Black community.

“Historically, as Black people, sometimes we’re not sure where our heritage comes from,” Tubman-Zawolo said. “America is just one place. But within America there’s a melting pot of different Black cultures: Africa, Latin, Europe, the Caribbean. Understanding that allows our power to be even greater.”

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said this year’s “We Love Us” theme was appropriate.

“This whole ‘We Love Us’ theme brought us together to build communities,” she said.

Essence Festival has accumulated over $300 million, with more than 500,000 attendees since 1994

Essence started the festival as a celebration in honor of 25 years of the magazine’s history.

“The locals are being incorporated in a manner that we can see and touch and feel and smell. That has been a part of the evolution of Essence,” Cantrell said.

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