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Essence Festival 2016 Brings Oprah, Tina Knowles, Diddy, Tyra Banks & More!

Essence Fest 2016 is by far the most exciting experience I’ve ever had at the powerful 16 year celebration! The mega event exposes its audience to new music, fashion, financial support, motivation and lastly a good time in a great city- New Orleans!

If we don’t teach our kids about our history then we are setting ourselves up to repeat history. - Phaedra Parks

The city is known for a rich, diverse culture and this year over 450,000 attendees flocked to EssenceFest to hear from Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland and more! Over 100 speakers spanning from author Phaedra Parks to leaders, Rev. Al Sharpton to celebrities Claudia Jordan and Tina Knowles took to stages to share encouraging words. For some reason, things seemed different this year. We’ve faced a lot as a community and it was refreshing to be in a space of "freedom" so to speak. Each way you glanced in the Ernest N. Morial Convention center guests were smiling, dancing and taking photos to document the experience.

I didn’t do it for the fame, I just love the art. - Leon Bridges

After each day of motivation and entertainment, guests strolled over to the Mercedes Benz SuperDome illuminated in purple to see one heck of a show. From the EPIC Prince tribute to Heavy hitters Kendrick Lamar who rocked this stage with just a mic and stand but sent the crowd raving! Mariah Carey and all her glamorousness paraded the stage with guests Jermaine Dupri and DaBrat. Ciara worked her CC power in all white get up dancing and popping across the set. Closing night was all about Puff Daddy & The Family. I’ve been wondering- do they still have the juice and the answer is YES! It was sooo refreshing listening to my girl Faith Evans take us back to the 90’s with “Soon As I Get Home”. 112 hit us with “Peaches and Cream” and Mason Betha + Puff Daddy gave us the real BAD BOY reunion! A pop in from Fabulous and French Montana gave for a perfect and current twist! I enjoyed meeting new artists BJ The Chicago Kid who reminds me of a younger Jaheim. Leshurr who instantly drew me in with her English accent and comedial rap lines and the New Breed Brass Band- I love seeing black men playing instruments!

Essence is the pinnacle of keeping the banner high. - BJ The Chicago Kid

If you’ve never experienced Essence Festival you should definitely add it to your bucket list! Its an experience you will NEVER forget! EssenceFest is taking over South Africa this November. Get ticket information here. View more photos of Essence Festival at Facebook.com/TheVannaCollinsShow

Photo Credit: Essence.com

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