Photo Credit: Essence
Photo Credit: Essence
Photo Credit: Essence

Every year, thousands of music fans and lovers from across the world gather together for an incredible four-day festival filled with great soul music, inspiring & motivating life changing workshops, and of course, great southern food and fun! The 2016 Essence Music Festival held in the great city of New Orleans, Louisiana took place June 30-July 3rd, celebrating 22 years of culture, fashion and music.

Lots of star studded power filled the Mercedes Benz Superdome Arena this past weekend, as many celebrities were in the building for this epic four-day music event, including community activists, Hollywood actors, musicians, band performers and more.

During the day, several celebrity empowerment workshops and panels were being held. Many of the star speakers included Steve Harvey, Bishop TD Jakes, Phaedra Parks, Kandi Burruss Tucker, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tyra Banks, Karen Civil, Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah Winfrey and many more. Even our very own Yandy Smith-Harris was in the building as a guest panelist for a financial building workshop called “Money and Power.”

Come see @yandysmith & I now at the #MoneyandPower stage at #EssenceFest

A video posted by Kandi Burruss (@kandiburruss) on

I have so much respect for these two Beautiful, Brown, Business women! @karencivil & @yandysmith

A photo posted by Kandi Burruss (@kandiburruss) on

And we can’t forget about the great music! This year’s Essence music lineup was a little bit of everything—from neo soul and classic 90s R&B to old school funk and hip-hop.

On opening night, R&B singer Maxwell kicked off the concert series on the mainstage along with his fellow R&B brothers Babyface, Tyrese, Avery Wilson and New Edition.

On Saturday, Charlie Wilson, Common, Jeremiah hit the stage, along with headliner Mariah Carey who serenaded the audience with her many classic ballads.

The final night of the concert festival was on Sunday with a touching tribute to the late great Prince with New Orleans Luke James singing a blues rock version of “Let’s Go Crazy.” Sly and the Family Stone ended the tribute with “Purple Rain.”

BENNETT RAGLIN/GETTY IMAGES FOR 2016 ESSENCE FESTIVAL
BENNETT RAGLIN/GETTY IMAGES FOR 2016 ESSENCE FESTIVAL

Singers Ciara and Andra Day also performed.  And hip hop artists Kendrick Lamar and Puff Daddy & The Bad Boy family closed out the show.

According to the festival’s spokesperson, over 450,000 people were in attendance at Essence Fest. What a great way to spend the holiday weekend.

Written By: Tiffany Hercules

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