THE 29TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL KICKED OFF HIP-HOP 50 CELEBRATIONS WITH ESSENCE VENTURES EXECUTIVES, REMARKS FROM VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS AT THE GLOBAL BLACK ECONOMIC FORUM™, AND THE FIRST-EVER AFROPUNK KREWE BALL
Day One of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ presented by Coca-Cola® was ALL BUSINESS. Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans and ESSENCE Ventures President & CEO Caroline Wanga and the executive leadership team, kicked off this year’s festival with the annual press conference, making it clear that New Orleans is the “forever home” of the Essence Fest.
The Global Black Economic Forum™featured an invite-only Access and Opportunity Summit at the Four Seasons, where Vice President Kamala Harris, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Michael S. Regan, took part in discussions on issues ranging from the evolution of philanthropy to addressing inequity on corporate boards.
The Summit engaged audiences on conversations around advancing equity and opportunity for Black communities across the country with history-making Black trailblazers, including Hip-Hop icons and gamechangers Doug E. Fresh and D-Nice, CNBC Reporter and Anchor Deborah Helman and Ebony Thomas, respectively, Vice President of Partnerships & Engagement at Google Valeisha Butterfied Jones, and more.
Following the Summit, the 2023 Essence Ventures Media Upfront took place at The Fillmore inclusive of a State of Black Media panel discussion featuring Caroline Wanga, Essence Ventures CEO & President, Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt, and Travis Montaque, Group Black Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, as well as a special musical performance by Robin Thicke.
During the nighttime experiences, AFROPUNK made its debut at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ with the AFROPUNK Krewe Ball, taking the night by storm at the Joy Theater. Notable attendees included a performance by Durand Bernarr and DJ sets by LIL JODECI, DJ Chinua, DJ PR_CK, DJ B-HEN, and hosted by Ebony New Orleans.