This year marks the 20th year for the Essence Music Festival!!! An INCREDIBLE FUNKIN’ event, it started out as a celebration, for Essence magazine’s 25th anniversary. After the first year, it was clear, at the very least another was required.
20 years later, this years line-up, is as stellar as ever! Artists featured include: Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Common, India.Arie, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Kem, Usher, a reuniting of Floetry, and a return to the stage for Missy Elliott. Other artists appearing are Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Trey Songz, host Thomas Miles — better known as “Nephew Tommy” — of the “Steve Harvey Morning Show,” Lecrae, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Trombone Shorty was a guest star on Prince’s 2014 ‘Essence Fest’ set. Kevin Hart will bring his current “What Now?” tour to the Essence Music Festival, and that’s just the list of talent for the main stage, during the July 4th weekend extravaganza.
An event that always occurs throughout Independence Day festivities and always in New Orleans — except for 2006 due to “Hurricane Katrina” moving it to Houston, Texas — additional talent performing in the “Super Lounges” feature Bilal, Lalah Hathaway, Doug E. Fresh, Esperanza (Emily) Spalding, Slick Rick, Kelly Price, Omarion, Elle Varner, Kool Moe Dee, Goapele and Kindred the Family Soul, among others. To see all the talent appearing, go to the Essence Music Festival website here… http://www.essence.com/festival . To see the talent (since 2001) that have taken part in the most prestigious event celebrating black music and culture in America, on an annual basis, since it’s inception check the wikipedia page here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence_Music_Festival. Dubbed “the party with a purpose,” I’ve been to the event three times, and have never been disappointed.
As June has been dubbed “Black Music Month,” liken to Morgan Freeman posing the question, “Black History Month”? — citing the history of black Americans is American History. I say, what is “Black Music Month”? — WE RUN THIS, when it comes to rhythm, be it Blues, Jazz, Rock, Rap, Pop or otherwise — Always Have. Any true musician would not dispute that. From the beginning of time, when tribes beat a drum to communicate from village to village, or dance in celebration when the hunters returned home with their kill for food — WE, BLACK PEOPLE, RUN THIS MUSIC!!! The essence of black culture sets music trends, always has, ALWAYS WILL! Books have been written about it; Radio and Television specials have been produced on the subject; Internet blogs exist to further document and substantiate it. You can’t not hear it in every genre — You can’t not see or hear it in advertising. Advertising is why “Black Music Month” was created, to sell records, if memory serves me correctly by Universal Music Group. I could go on, but if you’ve been paying attention, you get it.
In closing, one musician, entertainer and performer that has proclaimed himself “the architect, the emancipator and the originator,” that has gotten recognition, but I feel to a degree is still yet un-sung — is Little Richard. Born Richard Wayne Penniman, he inspired, mentored and guided, the early careers of James Brown and David Bowie. The spectrum of musical entertainers that have influenced a multitude, doesn’t get a whole lot more vast, than that. As a note, more so than celebration of “Back Music Month,” here’s a tip of the hat to him.
for the LOVE of the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL and All Music