Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola attracted more than 450,000 attendees to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend for its annual cultural celebration featuring more than 100 performing artists and over 100 speakers—which included first-time appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland and many more. Recognized as one of the country’s largest live events, the 2016 ESSENCE Festival hosted more celebrities and performing talent than ever before, extended its reach worldwide by capturing a record-breaking 3.5 billion social media impressions and delivered over 100 hours of curated video and live-stream content. The annual 4-day Festival, which took place June 30-July 3, features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world’s best performers each night. Highlights of the 2016 ESSENCE FESTIVAL included:
For a full recap of all the exciting moments from the 2016 ESSENCE Festival, visit ESSENCE.com and log in to the ESSENCE Festival microsite for photo and footage highlights.
The 2016 ESSENCE Festival is executive produced by ESSENCE Festivals LLC, a division of ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI), and produced by Solomon Group. GeChar is the executive producer of the 2016 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience. Sponsors of the 2016 ESSENCE Festival include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald’s, State Farm, Verizon, and Walmart. Superlounge sponsors include Coca-Cola, Ford and Walmart. The All Star Gospel Tribute is sponsored by Walmart. ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC. Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online. The company’s flagship publication, ESSENCE, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women, generating brand extensions such as the Essence Festival, Essence Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, Essence.com and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 46 years, Essence, which has a brand reach of 14.2 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women’s lives. Additional information about ECI and Essence is available at www.essence.com. ABOUT TIME INC. Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is one of the world’s leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the in the United Kingdom.
STARS OF WGN AMERICA’S UNDERGROUND RAILROAD THRILLER “UNDERGROUND” SHINE AT 2016 ESSENCE FESTIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS
A crowd of cheering fans greeted WGN America’s “Underground” stars Aldis Hodge (“Noah”), Alano Miller (“Cato”) and Amirah Vann (“Ernestine”), and director and executive producer Anthony Hemingway, as the celebrated group took center stage at the 2016 Essence Festival, the nation’s top showcase for African American music and culture. Moderator Cori Murray from Essence Magazine covered hot topics, spanning from the phenomenon the record-breaking series “Underground” has become to what’s in store for the series’ season two, during the not-to-be-missed panel discussion at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 1.
When asked about “Underground’s” relevance to today, Hodge’s comments were applauded, “we are all necessary to the progression of America…we need to continue to build without judgment. No problem is bigger than love.” Continuing the ovation, Director Anthony Hemingway added, “How active is your activism? Everybody has a purpose.” Miller’s thoughts about the importance of the powerful story of the heroes of the Underground Railroad were also lauded, “we have that fight in us…it’s important that we talk about the revolution.” Fans affirmed their appreciation for Vann’s response to a question about the strength of her popular character “Ernestine,” saying “women have been running the ship for a long time…how many of our mamas are like ‘Ernestine’?”
From executive producer John Legend and creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, “Underground” tells the unflinching story of some of America’s most heroic freedom fighters—slaves who risked their lives to reach freedom and claim their civil rights. Season two will begin production this summer for a 2017 debut.
The first season of WGN America’s “Underground” captured the pop culture zeitgeist and scored 3 million Total Viewers in Live + 7 delivery on Wednesday nights, and made history as the network’s most-watched original series ever. The series also ignited Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama on Wednesday nights and trended worldwide on the same day the U.S. Treasury Department announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
From executive producer John Legend, “Underground” is created by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” “Heroes,”) who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”) of Weed Road Pictures; and Joby Harold (“King Arthur,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) and Tory Tunnell (“King Arthur,” “Holy Rollers”) of Safehouse Pictures; Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius executive produce. Additionally, Get Lifted oversees all elements of the show’s music. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and executive produces the series.
The freshman season of “Underground” featured an acclaimed cast, including Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”), Christopher Meloni (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Marc Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Adina Porter (“The 100”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”), Chris Chalk (“Gotham”), Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Theodus Crane (“The Walking Dead”), James Lafferty (“One Tree Hill”), Renwick Scott (“Treme”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”).
On The Scene At The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center & Backstage at Essence Fest 2016
Photos by Kiwi – www.kiwithebeauty.com
HEADLINING PERFORMANCES FROM KENDRICK LAMAR, MARIAH CAREY AND MAXWELL ACROSS FIVE STAGES OVER FOUR NIGHTS: CIARA, NEW EDITION, BABYFACE, CHARLIE WILSON, FAITH EVANS PLUS, FESTIVAL FIRST-TIMERS JEREMIH, LEON BRIDGES, THE INTERNET, DEJ LOAF, LION BABE, TINK AND MANY MORE.
A few artists who performed at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival nighttime concerts at the Superdome included: Babyface, BJ The Chicago Kid, Charlie Wilson, Ciara, Cyril Neville, Daley, DeJ Loaf, Digable Planets, Doug E. Fresh, Eric Bellinger, Estelle, Faith Evans, Jeremih, Jidenna Judith Hill, Kelly Price, Kendrick Lamar, Common, Lady Leshurr, Lalah Hathaway, Leon Bridges, Lion Babe, Little Simz, Mali Music, Mariah Carey, Maxwell, MC Lyte, New Breed Brass Band, New Edition, Robert Glasper Experiment, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, St. Beauty, The Brand New Heavies, The Internet, Tink and V. Bozeman. In addition, the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans presented its first-ever World Music Superlounge, featuring artists from across the globe, including performers Wizkid, Zakes Bantwini and Skye Wanda representing Durban, South Africa (in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality).