Recap | Essence Fest 2016 & Aftermath Friday 08 July, 2016


I am here to do my second recap of attending the annual celebration of the Essence Festival held in New Orleans. I am happy but also have a heavy heart that I will go into later into this post about this event. I almost didn’t make it due to my broken hand, but I made a way – so excuse me I only got one full day of daytime and nighttime coverage of the final day, but enough to keep you all entertained and intrigued.


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-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. 


For the first time in Essence Fest history it will be held in Durban, South African this year in November. Pictured is a celebratory South African dance crew!


Me + Blogger Friend Mimi

What I love about Essence is that it brings people far and wide to come to this occasion every year. I was so happy to run into Mimi of I have known her for a few years online through a blogging community and being an avid reader of her lifestyle blog and we have keep in touch online and via FB…so when we met it was the first time but it didn’t seem like it. So happy to have met her because she told me last year she was interested in coming this year and she got her press credentials to be here! Speak it into existence! Great to finally meet her and please check out her blog here.


Me + Blogger/Author Sonya

Now I also love Essence Fest because a lot of my Atlanta Media family is always in attendance (and pretty deep and supportive too). One of my favorite Atlanta media people is Sonya of and this is her second year not only covering the festival but having her book in the Essence Bookstore. She has an amazing fictional love novel called Shaylas Catch and I am so proud of her for selling the majority of her books during this event. I love Essence gives all type of authors from self-publishers like Sonya to celebs to sell their books and get the mass exposure. Sonya rocks for getting this mega exposure for the second year and can’t wait for her second fictional book to be released soon. If you are interested in Shayla’s Catch go the the link here to read the synopsis and support the book.


Keke Wyatts speaking to Essence’s relationship editor Charreah Jackson


2016 American Idol’s final winner LaPorsha Renee


R&B Singer Mario working the crowd during his concert


Gospel singer Tamala Mann brining the spirit of soul to her concert


Charlie Wilson greeting and consoling her young starstruck fan in a warm embrace


This is one of my favorite moments with Uncle Charlie Wilson. He had a line for fans to take pictures, buy his book and get autographs and a young singer immediately got to meet him and broke down into tears. She probably wasnt even born when some of his biggest hits came out but she is literally a loyal diehard fan. It made me want to cry because she was so happy to finally meet her favorite celebrity. Charlie Wilson gave her special attention, talked to her, took plenty of pictures and made her day with this amazing moment. This is the energy of Essence Festival – you can get up and close with some of your favorite celebs and make a connection.


In the press room. Tidbit: Still hiding my broken hand/update coming soon


Keesha Sharp of new upcoming tv show Lethal Weapon


Leslie-Ann Brant/Lucifer TV show


D.B Woodside/Lucifer TV show


co-stars of Lucifer TV show Leslie-Ann Brant & D.B. Woodside


Soul Singer Andra Day


Chloe & Halle (Beyonce’s new teen protege sister singing duo)


Essence-Festival-2016-Recap-Kiwi-The-Beauty-21 Artist for the Essence Festival Prince Tribute

Marsha Ambrosious did a special announcement that shocked everyone was her pregnancy. She coying broadcasted during her performance of Prince’s “Do Me Baby” and of course on the ‘baby’ part she continuously rubbed her stomach. She is having a girl.


MC Lyte who annually mcees the Essence Festival

Essence-Festival-2016-Recap-Kiwi-The-Beauty-24 Ok now that I highlighted the celebrities and the good times of this beautiful event that is Essence Festival this year lets get real.

**Disclaimer/Long Expressive Thoughts: If you have been watching the news over the last couple of days what I am about to say should surprise you so understand my raw emotions of frustration, anger and saddness that is going to come along in my following sediments**

As I told you earlier in this post Essence Festival brought out 450,000 people which are majority African Americans to this annual event. During this event millions of dollars were spent during this event alone and brought in millions of dollars for the state of Louisiana. It’s beautiful to see black people come together annual for a great time, bring tourism to the city and just unity and socially show the world the power of our influence and entertainment.

Ironically on the same spectrum on the exact same week, the very next day Essence Festival was over the 4th of July was celebrated. The nation celebrated the freedom of this country and the beauty of Red, White and Blue with fireworks, BBQ and being with loved ones. I was still in New Orleans. I left the day after and came back home on the 5th. I was prepared to come home on the 6th and conjure this post and I couldn’t. I couldn’t because all over the news on July 6th another hashtag was created for a slain black man who was killed by the hand of the police by a gun. His name was Alton Sterling. He was arrested for panhandling and selling his mixtape. His gruesome and wrongful death was captured and shared all over social media. Here is the kicker: He was killed on the 5th, the day after the 4th of July in Baton Rouge. A few days of Essence Festival. I will tell you why that’s important in a moment.

Within hours…social media gets another horrific notification not even 24hours later after the emotion and rage of Alton Sterlings death, another police inflicted death occurred to another innocent black man named Philando Castile. His shooting and aftermath immediately of the situation was film lived on FB live by his girlfriend Diamond Reyonlds, who was sitting passenger to Philando and watch him get shot all the while her 4 year old was in the backseat. They got pulled over for a broken tail light.

I am typing all of this to let you know for the last couple of days I have been sad, frustrated, angry and heartbroken by this country. This is a repeated situation that is happening in America to black people, mostly to black men. In majority of these wrongful slaughtering of these lives, these officers walk free non-convicted leaving the country defeated. The cycle continues, a hashtagged name is added and nothing is solve. Pain is increasing.

What does this have to do with this post beside me vent and explaining my delay? Oh because Alton Sterling died in Louisiana. He died in the hands of Louisiana cops…in the same state where days ago Essence festival brought in 400,000+ of black people who collectively brought MILLIONS to the city. Days laters…the police shoot a local of Louisiana…kill yet another black life…but black lives dont matter. Black lives matter enough in music, sports, films, dances, clothes, hairstyles that every color and race adopts and enjoy but yet doesnt matter when an actual black person’s life is on the line…

That hurts. I am a black woman who prides herself of being loving to every race, gender preference sexuality, etc…I love humans. If you are not black and reading this post and feeling helpless or speechless in what to say about this…just be human and have compassion. Please have compassion as you did over the last few weeks for the Orlando shootings and even the outcry and passing of Harambe the Gorilla. Compassion and love is what this world needs now, not a race war. Not division. A solution to this nonsense killing at the hands of these authority figures. Praying for justice soon.


This is my Essence recap and hopefully soon some of these celebrities seen in this coverage may speak up, have kind words and use their platforms to speak on this serious subject the same way the speak on their career endeavors or performed during this event. I do want to emphasis I had a great time despite the aftemath of events that happened days later. I hope so, but until then thank you all for reading my 2016 coverage and look forward to possibly attending in Durban South African Essence Festival in November. 




About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at + @kiwithebeauty

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  • Rosey says:

    Any innocent victim is a victim, and it’s always sad. I don’t understand division. I never did, and hopefully, I never will. 🙁

  • How fun! I’m so jealous that you got to see LaPorsha. She can really belt it out.

  • Wow! What a whirlwind of an event to attend. So much talent to see. South Africa in November sounds awesome.

  • Pam says:

    This sounds like a really cool event. You get to go to the neatest things!

  • Crystal says:

    Sounds like you had a great time. I’m impressed with how much there was to see and do. Wish there wasn’t an asterisk to your amazing visit due to such heartbreaking events though.

  • Melisasource says:

    No human is expendable. I agree that violence and hatred are not the answers, but a solution does need to be found. I am glad you enjoyed your trip though.

  • Theresa says:

    What an amazing group of talent coming together for the festival! It is truly heartbreaking what is going on in this country. I hope the senseless killings stop and we are all able to stand united some day 🙁

  • Ryan Escat says:

    This is a nice event. I like your recap, I like to meet talented persons too and befriend with them.

  • Brandy says:

    Sounds like a fantastic time. I am so glad you were able to go here, looks like it was full of interesting people and fashion too!

  • Jeanine says:

    Looks like such a good time! Great recap.. Such a bunch of talent all in one place!

  • Angela says:

    Looks really fun! You met some amazing people, what a fun opportunity!

  • Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. This was a very successful event. It is so sad to see so many senseless killings happening.

  • Eva says:

    It has really been hard to write these past few days, especially recaps and sponsored posts. I love how you covered the event and were able to express your feelings at the same time. Well done.

  • Great recap. Such a great line up and I have never gone to the Essence Festival, but have always wanted to go. I can only imagine how great Marsha’s Prince tribute was.

  • Sarah Bailey says:

    This looks like it was such a fun event! So many emotions too. I love the photo you captured of the girl meeting her celeb hero. So sweet!

  • Tomiko says:

    I haven’t been to essence in years but I would love to attend the one in South Africa

  • Stacie says:

    Love your recap, one day I hope to be able to attend the Essence Fast.

    As for last week, I live in the Twin Cities where Philando Castile was shot and it has been rough for our black community. I definitely see your point about Louisiana. All that money…makes you really wonder what’s really going on.

  • Karen says:

    What an amazing event and what a great opportunity to connect with so many people! Your photos really show what a fabulous event it was!
    Karen |

  • I am happy to hear you had a wonderful time at the expo. As for the news, I literally can not even watch it any longer. It is just so sad and seems to get worse each passing day

  • Reesa Lewandowski says:

    This sounds like it was a great conference! I enjoyed your pictures and recap!

  • My heart aches. We need to unite over a common cause. We need to find the root problem and address it swiftly and decisively. Until then I pray all the time, throughout the day. It does help.

  • Nicole Escat says:

    I hate racism! We should start liking and loving each other, no matter what color or nation we belong. God created us to love not to hate. BTW, I love the event!

  • Amanda Love says:

    What a beautiful event that celebrates life. I’m sorry that you had such an amazing time and was blasted with so much heartbreaking news a few days after. It’s been a tough time for all of us.

  • I am happy to hear that you had a wonderful time, looks like you got some great memories.
    I kinda wondered at the beginning of your post if you were going to mention the shootings… from a outsider looking in I was completely shocked and horrified to see something like this happening in the US. It’s just not right 🙁

  • Denea says:

    My goal is to go next year! I want to go and meet some of my blogger friends. It looks like it was a great time!

  • tp keane says:

    what a fantastic festival. Can’t believe how bit it is and I’ve never heard about it until now. Great event.

  • Holly says:

    Wow there were a ton of people in attendance. I am sure the city made a great deal. Glad you had a good time and got to meet up with fellow bloggers.

  • Robin Rue says:

    This looks like it was such a fun time. I would love to go to a festival like this one.

  • Sheri says:

    From a great event of celebration to the sad events occurring in the USA. We read about them here in Europe but I cannot imagine what it is like facing that fear all the time in the USA – yes there is racism here but living in fear of being killed by those who should protect you is awful.

  • Tahnee says:

    This looks like it was so fun and eventful to attend! It is so heartbreaking what is happening in the world today. But it looked like so much talent in one place was fun to recap on.

  • It sickens me that all these innocent men are killed for such bullshit reasons excuse my French and I am sorry that your Essence fest was tinged with sadness. It beggars belief that America is still set in this mindset that Black men and women are criminals because they are not.

  • Cathy Mini says:

    It looks like you had a good time at Essence Fest. I love the dress that you wore – it’s so colorful!

  • Heather says:

    What an amazing experience! It looks like you had suck a fun time! I love events like this!

  • CourtneyLynne says:

    Oooo sounds like you had one awesome time gurlie!!!! I love events like these. Always a blast!

  • Dana Carmel says:

    Great recap! And it’s so tragic that the Alton Sterling shooting happened in Louisiana. It’s tragic when it happens anywhere. This country has such a long way to go in terms of race relations and putting an end to police officers murdering black people. It’s very sad and discouraging. On another note, I love your dress – very cute!

  • Jill Conyers says:

    Looks like a fun event. Everyone clearly had a great had a great time.

  • Tia says:

    Nice recap of the weekend! I have always wanted to go to Essence Fest.

    I appreciate you keeping it real at the same time. It has been a tough week or so for our community. You make a valid point that we have spending power.

  • alexandria says:

    The past few weeks have definitely been hard on everyone in this country. But… I’m glad you had a great time. You got to see some extraordinary people!

  • Ashlee says:

    Love the recap and your honesty. It’s a lot of division going on in this country but it’s so beautiful to see black people get together on a positive note. Love this!!!

  • Paula says:

    Andra Day looks simply stunning.

    I’m also so very saddened by the deaths and racism that is present. I agree that we need more compassion and love in this world. My heart aches for what families and communities have had to go through because of the fear and hate that accompanies racism. It is not right and we can all do so much better. Sending love.

  • I remember loving Mario back in the day. Also, that Lucifer show looks good. I have been planning on watching it. That looks like a really fun event.

  • I love how you openly shared your feelings in this post. It has been hard to concentrate and write with everything that has been happening around us. Hope your hand heals completely soon.

  • It looks like the festival was a great time! I love how they are going to South Africa next year!

  • Valeire Robinson says:

    Enjoyed the recap – felt like I was there. Hoping to make my way next year. And amen to all you said at the end.

  • Shelly C. says:

    It’s a sad world that we live in and even worse the way the media portrays things. I grew up in an ethically diverse family. When I say family, I am including my Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc. I am white, however, I have an African American uncle, 6 cousins who are half African American/half white, an uncle from Nicaragua, an uncle that’s Mexican (my aunt’s ex-husband I still consider my uncle) any my 3 cousins who are half Mexican. My ex-husband is Korean and my beautiful daughter is half Korean. My current boyfriend is half Bolivian and his 3 children are Egyptian, Bolivian & white. I don’t see color. I never have, never will and I will never understand anyone who judges someone by the color of their skin, sexual orientation, etc. My heart aches for every single one of those families.

  • Sheena says:

    I watched Charlie’s performance on Facebook live and felt like I was right there in the audience. It’s so disheartening and frustrating to see the senselessness shortly after such a huge celebration of beautiful black lives. It sucks. Hard.

    Essence Fest in South Africa sounds looovely. I hope you’ll be able to make it and that your hand makes a speedy recovery.

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