dotsSonya Jenkins 2015 Essence Festival Blog – #BringTheLove

Published on July 2, 2015 by Sonya's Spotlight


Day 1 – July 2, 2015

Rise & Shine! New Orleans Bound. What better way to start my 4th of July Weeekend than to celebrate in New Orleans at the 2015 Essence Music Featival. Not only am I excited about having fun with friends I haven’t seen in a while, but a couple of weeks ago I was notified that my novel, SHAYLA’S CATCH, will be on sale at the Essence Festival Bookstore this year. Pure excitement!

Chatted with “Real Housewives of Atlanta’s” Cynthia Bailey  & saw “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reality stars, Nikko & Margeaux on their way to the Essence Fest at the Atlanta airport.  After landing in New Orleans and collecting my bag from baggage claim I headed straight to the French Quarter, where I walked on Canal Street & Bourbon Street. The crowd seemed festive already. I couldn’t resist stopping at Acme Oyster House, where Red Beans & Rice & Sausage were calling my name! It’s my favorite dish when I come to New Orleans! I decided not to dine in, since the line seemed like it would take an hour to be seated. After getting my New Orleans cuisine “To Go,” I devoured it!

Time to get ready for concert Night 1- Kevin Hart, Trey Songz, and LeCrae. Stay tuned!

Sonya Jenkins - Essence Fest ready! On way to The French Quarter in New Orleans after arriving in New Orleans.

Sonya Jenkins – Essence Fest ready! On way to the French Quarter in New Orleans after arriving in New Orleans.

7/2/15 – Almost 8pm


Sonya Jenkins arriving at the Mercedes Benz Superdome for Essence Fest 2015.


Just arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans where Kevin Hart is headlining the festival’s opening concert for The Essence Music Festival (#EssenceFest). Trey Songz and LeCrae are also performing tonight. My Essence Fest point of contact informed me that for the first time ever the Thursday Night show has been completely sold out. I’m here & inside though!! #EssenceFestival2015 #KevinHart #TreySongz #LaCrae #SonyasSpotlight #MercedesSuperDome  #Night1 #EssenceMusicFestival

9:00pm  – Press Room Perks! Got to interview  LeCrae briefly! He had some good advice for the youth (see video below). Now I’m waiting on Trey Songz to come into the press room (and missing the beginning of Kevin Hart’s performance)! Trey’s performance was on point! He had many of the ladies screaming his name!

9:34pm – Still waiting on Trey Songz. Well, the  moderator just said he’s on his way. And I would be having some technical difficulties with posting pics on my site right now. Okay. I’m going to make the most of it and fix this problem later. #EssenceFest


Trey Songz


Check out Trey Songz video by clicking on  the link below:

1:17am – Too exhausted to blog right now, but I laughed so hard during Kevin Hart’s performance at the Essence Music Festival tonight. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed to be taken once Kevin got on stage, because he was taping for his “What Now” Tour. It was also Kevin’s birthday, so Trey Songz returned to the stage after Kevin’s comedy performance and led the Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Kevin.

After the concert it was great catching up with some friends and acquaintances from Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta. We all walked back to the French Quarter together – about a 20 minute walk from the Superdome – but the time spent catching up, laughing and taking photos made it seem like a five minute walk.


Caught up with girlfriends from Atlanta, Houston, Dallas & Los Angeles after the concert.

Okay, I’m about to fall asleep on this blog! Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow!

Friday 7/3/15  10ish am

I woke up early (8:00am) – well, that’s not early for some –  but I couldn’t get myself going. Basically, I missed attending the 21st Annual Essence Festival Press Conference in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center because I just couldn’t pull myself out of bed. I’m now getting my grub on at the Riverwalk New Orleans before trotting next door to the Convention Center.


Riverwalk New Orleans

I’m anxious to see my novel, SHAYLA’S CATCH, in the Essence Festival Bookstore. Although I’ll spend a good portion of my day at the Convention Center, I don’t want to tire myself out before tonight’s concert. Here is the lineup tonight: Mainstage: Maze Feat. Frankie Beverly, Charlie Wilson, India.Arie, Kem, plus Superlounges: Adrian Marcel, Avery Sunshine, Doug E. Fresh, Goapele, Kelly Price, Kindred The Family Soul, Luenell, Nico & Vinz, and Slick Rick.

So many great performers! UPDATE YOU AGAIN SOON!

9:25pm – Chilling In New Orleans

Yes, I decided to chill tonight and let some blogger friends cover tonight’s concert for me after having a very fun, festive & full day! I did, indeed, tire myself out at the Covention Center with all the festivities and by walking a few miles in New Orleans today! I’m still ecstatic after seeing my novel, SHAYLA’S CATCH, sitting pretty at the Essence Boolstore, where I introduced it to many avid readers coming through the bookstore! I spotted SHAYLA’S CATCH pretty quickly – after stepping inside the bookstore. It didn’t hurt that singer Charlie Wilson’s signage about his book was like an umbrella to SHAYLA’S CATCH  – right above my novel – bringing more attention to it. I hung out at the Essence Bookstore for a while, which is located close to the Coca Cola main stage, chatting it up with friends, a fellow author and Essence Fest attendees. After my SHAYLA’S CATCH Essence Bookstore appearance, I sat in on a relationship seminar where DeVon Franklin and his beautiful wife, Meagan Good & married couple Flex and Shanice (who have their own reality show on OWN Network) were special speakers. The seminar was informative and inspirational, to say the least.

After leaving the Convention Center I dined at Acme Oyster House, yet again, with friends – this time at the Harrahs Casino location.

Yes, I know  I’m missing some good performances tonight at the Mercedes Superdome by deciding to chill instead of going  to party with a purpose, but I’m sure my blogger girls will get plenty of coverage for me and Essence Press has already sent me a few photos (which I’ll add to a roundup report after the festival).  Enjoy a couple of shots I took earlier today (below). Until the next time, Stay Positive!


Author Sonya Jenkins, all smiles at the Essence Bookstore with her novel, Shayla’s Catch.


Atlanta Catches holding Shayla’s Catch.


Sonya Jenkins wit Shayla’s Catch at the Essence Bookstore.


Sonya Jenkins romance novel, Shayla’s Catch, in Essence Bookstore.


Check out the Essence Link to their Gallery of pics:

July 4, 2015 12:30 pm – HAPPY 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July from the #EssenceFest in New Orleans! Had a hearty breakfast, took a few selfies and now I’m on the move – in my red, white & blue – celebrating the 4th! I have a lot to fit in today (fun stuff & concert tonight), but first things first! I’m on my way to the #EssenceBookstore shortly – near the Coca Cola main stage at the New Orleans Convention Center – to check on my novel, SHAYLA’S CATCH & meet & greet a few Essence Bookstore & SHAYLA’S CATCH  customers. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to attend a movie screening and a couple of seminars at the Convention Center as well. Looking forward to seeing Common and Usher perform tonight! Will update you a little later. Gotta roll!


Sonya Jenkins – Publisher of Sonya’s Spotlight & Author of SHAYLA’S CATCH – wishing you a very Happy 4th!

July 6, 2015 – 5:50pm

Oops. I know I’ve been M.I.A. (Missing In Action) since the 4th of July, as far as “Blog Action,” but it wasn’t intentional. My plan was to update (blog) a few times a day from New Orleans, but everything started going so fast-paced for me at the 2015 Essence Music Festival that I just couldn’t find time to continue to blog – without it disturbing my fun. My apologies. The Essence Fest was a fun-filled and celebratory! I was incredibly busy meeting and greeting and chatting it up with book lovers at the Essence Bookstore during the day – giving them a brief spoken-word synopsis of my novel, SHAYLA’S CATCH and I  attended a few day seminars and screenings. And of course, my evenings were filled with concerts at the Super Dome. And now that I’m back in Atlanta (I retuned this morning), I’m desperately needing some sleep, so bare with me while I rest up. After catching my breath from all the incredible moments at the Essence Festival, I will update this blog with new photos and video. I must say, this year’s Essence Festival was one of the best yet, and I have attended a few times. Enjoy a few of my Essence Fest photos below.

 See you at the 2016 Essence Festival the first weekend in July next year!


Sonya Jenkins backstage in the Essence Fest VIP Lounge.


Actress Demetria McKinney, Sonya’s Spotlight Publisher, Sonya Jenkins, and TV & Radio Personality, Claudia Jordan.


Sonya Jenkins doing some Press Room Posing – Final Night of Essence Fest – July 5.


Bernadette Stanis from "Good Times."

Bernadette Stanis from “Good Times.”


Common performs at Essence Fest – July 4th, 2015.



Actor Morris Chestnut talks about his upcoming FOX TV show, Rosewood, at one of the screenings at the Essence Fest 2015.


Actor Omari Hardwick from “Power” takes pics with fans at the State Farm booth at the Convention Center for the Essence Fest.


Devon Franklin, Meagan Good, Moderator, Shanice and Flex after relationship seminar at the New Orleans Convention Center.


Singer Marsha Ambrosius backstage in the Essence Fest VIP Lounge.


Mary J. Blige performs the final night of the Essence Fest 2015.


Sonya Jenkins – Press Room Photo – Night 3 of Essence Fest.


Singer Eryka Badu performs Night 3 of Essence Fest.


Usher performs final night at 2015 Essence Fest.

Usher performs final night at 2015 Essence Fest.


A hearty breakfast in New Orleans for the author of Shayla’s Catch. A treat.




Victory New Orleans night spot posts photo of my final nightcap with friends at Victory NOLA. We were greeted by owner Daniel Victory –


  • Nearly a half million attendees converged upon New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend for the 2015 ESSENCE Festival, one of the country’s largest live events.  The annual 4-day Festival, which took place July 2-5, features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world’s best performers each night.
  •  More than 80 performing artists–including some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as Kevin Hart, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Common and Kendrick Lamar—performed at the event’s nighttime concerts.
  • Over 120 speakers, authors, leaders and celebrities -–including Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Steve Harvey, Keke Palmer, Kelly Rowland, Jussie Smollett and Rev. Al Sharpton—participated in the Festival’s free daytime experience.
  •   Inaugural ESSENCE Festival ‘Day of Service’ commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by refurbishing schools citywide and staging a first-time community Health & Wellness Fair.

 Special Thanks to the Tennessee Tribune Newspaper  –

#EssenceFest #BringTheLove

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