The 2010 Essence Music Festival
Congratulations to Essence and all its sponsors on another great festival. The artists and celebrities were in true form and did not disappoint. Got Soul Sessions Radio was there and had a blast covering the concert and as many of the events as we could.
Many of the sponsors had ongoing events and appearances and performances by artists/celebrities to include Coke, Wal-Mart, Tide, Coors Light, TV One, McDonalds, Pantene, Ford and Cover Girl.
TV One reality stars, Lisa Raye, Omarosa, K-Ci and Jojo and Chef Garvin made appearances at their booth. TV will air some of the events later this summer. Cover Girl Queen Collection provided free makeovers and Pantene free hair consultations. Janet Jackson and Trey Songz made appearances at the Wal-Mart booth.
Tide's booth included a live demo that revealed the technology behind Tide with Acti-Lift amidst live music, style advice, celebrity appearances and performances by Chrisette Michele and Idris Elba.Tide Loads of Hope program continues to raise awareness of the ongoing need for support in New Orleans and other families affected by disasters. We got a chance to talk to Idris while at the Tide booth. Click here to listen.
Friday was filled with a buzz in anticipation of Janet Jackson's performance later that night on the main stage. During the day Steve Harvey's relationship seminar, which also featured Sherri Shepherd and Hill Harper was the highlight of the day’s activities.
Monica got things started with her soulful r&B performing hits from her current platinum selling album, Still Standing and some of previous hits. Monica also did an excellent job covering Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and “You Give Good Love.”
Raphael Saadiq treated the crowd with his throwback soul while Chrisette Michele heated up the Super Lounge. Charlie Wilson gave an impressive performance with some of his Gap Band hits and current fan favorites. The crowd waited patiently for Janet and when she finally hit the stage it was instant energy.
Janet performed for almost 2 hours non-stop with her first major concert in almost 2 years. Jackson who celebrated her 44th birthday in May looked vibrant and as full of energy as she did twenty years ago. She started with her hits, Pleasure Principle and Rhythm Nation.
During, "Together Again,’ a photo montage of Michael played in the background."She picked the pace back up with “Control” and then “What Have You Done for Me Lately.” Before going into, “You Want This” she asked the crowd, “New Orleans, do you want more? Do you want this?” During “Miss You Much,” Jackson said, “I know you remember this one … New Orleans, I miss you.” After a brief break Janet donned a cat suit along with a whip and played out a dominatrix scene with her dancers. She later pulled a man from the audience and strapped him onto a harness hanging over the stage.
On Saturday in conjunction with the African American Education Summit two special screenings of the critically acclaimed independent film “The Lottery” were shown. Al Sharpton kicked off the African American Education Summit with remarks about the current state of Black America and where we are headed. Bill Cosby continued with animated speech about our educational system. Jada Pinkett helped facilitate the Q&A while T.D. Jakes closed the seminars with a discussion about empowering our youth.
Keri Hilson opened the night with a hot performance and surprised the audience with a duet with El Debarge who thrilled the crowd with his signature hits. El looked and sounded as good as Keri. LL Cool J warmed the crowd reminding everyone he is still a great hip hop artist. While LL wowed the crowd on the main stage Rebirth, De La Soul, Joe Mint Condition and Laura Izibor shined in the Super lounges.
Jada Pinkett later came on and introduced Alicia Keys who went right into her some of her hits from her current album, Element of Freedom and then her signature, "Fallin', Diary, Like You'll Never See Me Again, and she ended with “No One”. Alicia gave us a scare as she stumbled and fell backwards while performing "Love is Blind". She quickly bounced back up and finished the rest of the song on the piano bench. I suspect this may be one of her last performances until after the baby is born.
Trey Songz opened the show, serenading the ladies with his smooth vocals proving why he has becoming a sought after opening act. It’s interesting that Trey was selected to perform on the main stage while an artist of Joe’s caliber was in one of the Lounges but that’s why EMF is so great it give fans the option to see Joe close up if that was your preference.
Jill Scott brought great energy with her soulful performance of her hits, "Golden," "The Way," "Long Walk," "Hate on Me “and” Crown Royal". Her operatic skills were in full force as she sang, “He Loves Me”. Jill couldn’t have done a better job energizing the crowd for Mary and Earth Wind and Fire.
Mary J Blige has had a long run of great Essence performances with this year being her eighth appearance, and this one definitely sits at the top of the list. Mary also launched her new perfume, My Life during the weekend festivities. Blige has teamed up with Carol's Daughter with the release of her fragrance, which will officially go on sale July 31st. MJB had Trey Songz come back onstage to perform their duet, We Got Hood Love. Mary asked the crowd to sing along with her rendition of "I'm Going Down and they were eager to accommodate her. Later T.I. surprised the audience with an appearance as he performed his rap on, “Good Love.”
Earth Wind and Fire closed out this year’s festival with their timeless music and energy.