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Essence Music Festival: Good Times Had By All

Well, the Essence Music Festival has come and gone, and with it my hopes of accidently bumping into Idris Elba on the street. Symphony music playing, stars in my eyes…oh, sorry, I digress. While I didn’t run into the man of my dreams, my Essence Fest experience this year was pretty magical. And since I’ve already talked my friend’s ears off already about everything that happened, I’ll just run down a few of my favorite moments from the weekend.

Meeting people who aren’t from here is always interesting for me as a born-and-bred New Orleanian. At the Empowerment Series in the Convention Center, I met (more than like accosted) three friends, each from different areas of the country, who meet up every year at Essence Fest. A tradition, they told me, they’ve continued for more than ten years. Why? New Orleans never fails to show them a good time with the great food and fun they have partying with us locals. Have to admit, I puffed my chest out a little bit when I heard that.

The men’s panel did not fail. The panelists were just gorgeous and imparted some good advice to the ladies in the audience. The funny moments were the best. My favorite had to be when Laz Alonzo (Jumping the Broom, Breakout Kings) talked about his billionaire plan—inventing the next Snuggie, Super Soaker water gun, or anything else that requires an infomercial. I’d say up at 4 in the morning to watch him sell the Slap Chop.

I was in awe of the panel of women writers talk about their lives as authors and storytellers. Have to say that was an uplifting moment for me to witness women who are doing exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. Nothing like knowing your dreams are well within reach because you’re watching people live them right in front of you. I went from awe to completely star-struck when I met Iyanla Vanzant as she signed my book and told me to finish my book. That was a great day.

My absolute favorite moment of the entire weekend, though, was signing my voice away to every song Jill Scott performed Saturday night. She must’ve known I was in the audience because I swear she did all of my favorites. New and old. My voice has since recovered, but this will definitely go down as one of my favorite Essence Fest experiences.

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