THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE PLANS FULL RETURN TO NEW ORLEANS IN JULY 2022

Essence Communications, Inc., the leading media, technology and commerce company dedicated to serving Black women and communities, today announced the full return of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture to New Orleans from June 30 – July 3, 2022.

After pivoting to a virtual experience in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the ESSENCE Festival will host a fully live gathering for the first time in two years, celebrating the culture and resilience of the Black community with the theme “It’s the Black Joy for Me!”  In addition, with its strong digital performance – including a 65% increase in Festival content streams from 2020 (45 million) to 2021 (70+ million), the ESSENCE Festival of Culture will build on the global audience gained via its virtual programming to continue to deliver a comprehensive and engaging digital experience to attendees both live and around the world.

“The reimagining of the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans – fully physical and fully digital – experience will be epic,” said Caroline Wanga, CEO, Essence Communications, Inc. “Given what we have collectively experienced over the last two years, the opportunity to convene and uplift in the spirit of culture, equity, celebration – and joy – is more of a privilege and honor than it has ever been. We look forward to our homecoming in the City of New Orleans and to strengthening our impact as a cornerstone of Black culture, entrepreneurship and economic inclusion – working always to serve Black women and communities deeply.”

The unparalleled live experience will include almost one million square feet of space for empowerment programming (networking, finance, career, wellness, fashion, beauty and more) at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, nightly concerts at Caesars Superdome and other entertaining and inspirational activations in venues across the city.  The Festival’s robust digital programming will include live streaming of select on-the-ground activities in New Orleans, as well as new and exclusive digital content and experiences created for the live and virtual audiences.

“We are elated to announce the return of the ESSENCE Festival to New Orleans in the Summer of 2022,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.  “ESSENCE brings so much to our city and our economy, and I can’t wait to see what this year has to offer. The City of New Orleans and the ESSENCE Festival are inextricably linked through our remarkable history and our steadfast focus on and commitment to culture, community, and economic inclusion.  We look forward to continuing this partnership to create an even deeper legacy of impact and inclusion for our city and for all who will join us in July to make this experience the best yet.”

Launched in 1995 as an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ESSENCE magazine, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture has since evolved into the world’s largest celebration of Black women, culture and communities.  Regularly convening more than 530,000 people annually over July 4th weekend in New Orleans, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture is now also the nation’s largest festival by per day attendance.

Additional details regarding the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture – including ticketing, schedules, talent line-up, COVID protocols (based on recommended guidance from Public Health Agencies and the City of New Orleans), and more – will be released in January 2022.  Visit www.essencefestival.com for the latest information.

ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.

Essence Communications is the number one—and only 100% Black-owned—media, technology and commerce company at scale dedicated to Black women and communities.  With a community of more than 31 million Black women, ESSENCE inspires a global audience through diverse storytelling and immersive original content rooted in Culture, Equity and Celebration.  The brand’s multi-platform presence in/ publishing, experiential and online encompasses its namesake magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; and signature live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.

Hosea Helps Historic Pivot For 2021 Holiday Events

Hosea Helps, Inc., in its 50th year of service, kicks off its 2021 Holiday Festival of Services with the Great Turkey Drop-off, followed by the Annual Thanksgiving Event. This year’s holiday events will be another historic first for the organization battling against the covid-19 pandemic. They will hold the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions one week before the holiday to better provide for families in need. This pivot allows them to distribute all of the fixings for a delicious holiday meal in time for families to prepare and serve on the actual holiday. The Thanksgiving drive-thru food distribution will take place on November 19, 2021, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm in the Blue Lot across from the Georgia World Congress Center’s C building off Northside Drive, entering on Maple Street. By doing the holiday food distribution a week in advance, they’re empowering families by giving them time to prepare and enjoy a scrumptious home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving Day – No more frozen turkeys on the holiday!

This historic holiday event will be a two-fold holiday giving extravaganza. This is the first time in history that Hosea Helps will be receiving in-kind donations and distributing food boxes and supplies simultaneously. This year, Hosea Helps is working with a world-renowned service organization, which they will announce early next week, to kick off the 2021 Holiday Food Drive. This extraordinary group of volunteers will lead the charge in donating poultry, canned goods, pantry items, and household supplies. In addition, volunteers will be working both sides of the giving spectrum by accepting food drive donations from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and helping to distribute food boxes and supplies to families on the other side. Hosea Helps has never had so many volunteers that they could receive and distribute donations at the same time.

The Great Turkey Drop-off will take place on November 11, 2021, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Hosea’s corporate donors, Publix Supermarkets and Kroger, along with donations from the philanthropic community, including Simon Guobadia, will deliver turkeys to the new Hosea Headquarters located at 2545 Forrest Hills Drive, SW Atlanta, GA 30315 for distribution during this seasons Festival of Services that include Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day.

“We are so excited and grateful that these volunteers committed to partnering with us to help meet the rising demand for food and supplies for families in need during the holidays. The after-effects of Covid and the shortages in the supply chain have caused a decrease in the availability of turkeys this year, ultimately driving the costs up too high for us to buy in large quantities. That’s why this year’s Great Turkey Drop-off  by our corporate sponsors and the donation drive by our volunteers is so important. We hope that these donations will help us fill the gap between our supply and the community need.”, says Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Helps.

Participating families must register for the 11/19/21 Thanksgiving food distribution on the Hosea Helps website at www.4hosea.org to receive groceries and supplies prior to the event. For more information on Hosea Helps and its programs, visit the website or follow on social media @4Hosea. 

 

Hosea Helps Hosts The 2021 Great Turkey Drop Off on Thursday, Nov 11, 2021

 

WHO: Hosea Helps, Inc., in its 50th year of service, kicks off its 2021 Holiday Festival of Services with the Great Turkey Drop-off, followed by the Annual Thanksgiving Event. The Thanksgiving drive-thru food distribution will take place on November 19, 2021, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm in the Blue Lot across from the Georgia World Congress Center’s C building off Northside Drive, entering on Maple Street. 

WHAT: Hosea’s corporate donors, Publix Supermarkets and Kroger, along with donations from the philanthropic community, including Simon Guobadia, will deliver turkeys to the new Hosea Headquarters located at 2545 Forrest Hills Drive, SW Atlanta, GA 30315 for distribution during this seasons Festival of Services that include Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day.

 

WHEN:The Great Turkey Drop-off will take place on November 11, 2021, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. 

 

WHERE: 2545 Forrest Hills Drive, SW Atlanta, GA 30315 at 10am on the dock of Hosea Helps Headquarters

Talk of Alabama Lifestyle Segment: Outdoor Must-Haves

I hosted a Lifestyle Segment on Monday, July 12th on ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama. During the segment, I shared summer must-haves while hosting an outdoor event.

The products showcased were meant to assist with helping everyone enjoy their guests!

Click The Photo To Watch:

Instagram | Twitter | TikTok Handle @kwest1908

Earrings:  Amazon | Blouse:  Marshalls

PROTECT YOUR PARTY GUESTS FROM MOSQUITOS – 15-20FT RADIUS OF PROTECTION

Thermacell | E55 Thermacell Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller (An Amazon Best Seller) – provides 20ft of protection ($39.99 on Amazon / Thermacell / Home Depot, Loews, Walmart etc.)

Thermacell | Patio Shield Metal Edition in Rose Gold provides 15ft of protection ($34.99 on Amazon / Thermacell / Home Depot, Loews, Walmart etc.)

Protect Your Skin with IBKÜL’s (IB-Cool) IceFil UPF 50+ Tops Available For The Whole Family

IBKÜL | Mens Womens & Children Tops ($19 – $99 depending on style) – Available on ibkul.com and Amazon. 

Make Your Eyes Pop Even With A Mask On with Easy To Use Magnetic Lashes

Lola’s Lashes | Easy To Use And Glamorous Lashes best selling magnetic Lashes in the UK | $28 – $65 at lolaslashes.com

Protect Your Pets & Kids From Ticks While You Enjoy A Beautiful Outdoor Memorial Day Weekend Backyard BBQ.

Thermacell | Tick Control Tubes (6 pack for $24.99 @Thermacell)

Click on the link to view the segment: Talk of Alabama | Summer Must-Haves | Kimberly West

Juneteenth Recipes for our Soul! – The Urban Martha Stewart

Growing up in Los Angeles, My parents were very involved in the Black movement but I didn’t really learn and absorb Black history until I went away to college at UC Berkeley and enrolled into an African American Studies classes with the infamous Dr. Harry Edwards. He rocked my world on African American Studies and I remember calling my mom crying asking her why she didn’t teach about our Black history?
For the full story and recipes please visit Ali in the Valley!

Tyler Perry in First Trailer for ‘Tyler Perry: Man of Many Faces

From a traumatic childhood to the redemptive role of faith, discover the rags-to-riches rise of Tyler Perry, one of America’s most respected entertainers in the new feature-length biography ‘Tyler Perry: Man of Many Faces’ from Legacy Distribution.

The feature-length biography ‘Tyler Perry: Man of Many Faces’ is now available on Roku Channel, Google Play, XUMO, Glewed, STIRR, and LocalNow.

Produced by Dana Webber and distributed by Legacy Distribution.

FIVE WAYS BLACK WOMEN CAN FEEL EMPOWERED ON JUNETEENTH

On June 19th, 2021, millions of Americans will come together to honor a key piece of American history; Juneteenth — the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

“Understand the history,” says Dr. Sonja Stribling, Life Coach for the Black American Woman, “but utilize this date to empower yourself, as empowerment is what this day is all about!” Stribling, a Certified Life and Business Coach recently featured in Black Press of America, Good Day D.C., and KDRV-TV, has coached and mentored over 300,000 women.

As the daughter of a farmer and housekeeper from Arkansas, Dr. Sonja Stribling is a retired US Army Major who spent 21 years in the United States Military. Stribling went from poverty to millionaire. Here, Dr. Stibling offers five tips to help Black women feel empowered this June 19th, 2021:

Understand Your History: Juneteenth can be a launch point to delve into your own personal history. Try journaling to understand how your past has shaped who you are today.

Know When to Say NO: Evaluate Your Boundaries, find power and strength in knowing when it’s best for you to say no to an event, a person, or anything you don’t want to do. Equally important is knowing when to ask for help.

Draw Your Road Map To P.O.W.E.R: (Possibilities, Opportunities, Wealth, Wellbeing, Worth, Excellence and Responsibility). Seize the possibilities and opportunities open to you, recognize your worth, reinvest in yourself to build wealth, prioritize your wellbeing, approach ALL aspects of life with excellence and share the responsibility of helping others.

Make A Routine Ritual: Treat yourself, every single day. Start by finding something you love to do. Each day, set aside at least five minutes to do that exact same thing. The mind will look forward to this routine self-time.

Share Your Story: Don’t just post to social media, talk to people in your life. Share your story to empower your loved ones and yourself. You never know who needs to hear what you’ve been through.

Dr. Sonja’s Bio:
Dr. Sonja Stribling, Ph.D. is a Business Strategist, Public Speaker and the Founder of the Born to Be Powerful Academy, a company that empowers women with the confidence and skills to dominate their personal and professional lives. A former clinical counselor and 21-year Army Retired Major, Dr. Sonja uses her training and experience to lead thousands to their victory by using their inner power to ascend to their next level in life and business.
This mother of three boys and divorcee, knows all too well the mindset of a woman who wants more but has to constantly fight multiple times harder than others. Becoming a mother at 15, before being raped and left for dead at 17-years-old, Dr. Sonja joined the military and spent the next 21 years serving three combat tours in a male-dominated field.
Known as the ‘General to Giants’ and is the Best-Selling Author of “The Divorce That Saved My Life,” this 21-year Army Retired Major and recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award (by President Barack Obama), is a National Speaker for the Think & Grow Rich The Legacy World Tour, and former TV Host on Bravo Network.  Dr. Sonja has been featured in outlets such as Bustle, KTLA, Good Day DC, The Ladders, Influencive and more.

Instagram: @IamDrSonja
Facebook: @IamDrSonja

Tips & Recipes for Healthy Low Cal Eating this Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and you’re likely preparing for your celebration. Looking for a healthy dish for your Memorial Day shindig?  NYC area certified fitness trainer and founder of www.thegluterecruit.com Jessica Mazzucco has created three Memorial Day weekend recipes for your get-together.

Southwestern black bean salad:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 oz cooked corn, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
  • 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro, or more to taste
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 medium hass avocado, diced
  • 1 diced jalapeno, optional
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 – 2 limes, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions: Combine corn, beans, tomato, scallion, onion, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in olive oil and squeeze fresh lime juice. Let the ingredients marinate in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.  Add avocado, and enjoy!

Bean Burger:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons oat flour
  • seasoning (garlic, chili powder, cumin, etc)
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn (optional)

Instructions: Mash beans in a large bowl. Add in seasonings and flour, and make sure to mix well. Stir in corn (optional). Form into patty shapes and place on a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for two-three minutes. Flip sides and cook for another one to two minutes.

Pork Lettuce Wraps:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 teaspoons plum sauce (look for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 16 leaves of butter lettuce or romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (look for gluten-free)
  • 1 lime, sliced into 4 wedges

Instructions: Add pork to a large frying pan over high heat. Drain excess fat, and stir in ginger, green onions, allspice, soy sauce, and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until green onions are tender. Fill lettuce with pork mixture, and top with cilantro and plum sauce.

General Tips For Eating Healthy On Memorial Day:

Eat a healthy snack before you go so you won’t arrive at the barbeque starved, which will likely cause you to overeat.

 Eat burgers or hot dogs but skip the bun. Skipping out on the bun cuts back on carbs and calories.

For burgers or hot dogs, skip the ketchup, it has 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Instead, use mustard, as this condiment has no sugar.

Look for items that are grilled not fried, as fried foods are more caloric.

Rethink that drink: Avoid Coladas and other caloric cocktails. Instead, if you want to have alcohol, opt for a wine spritzer made with sparkling water.

Instead of corn or potato salad, which are carb-heavy, bulk up on raw or cooked vegetables.

www.thegluterecruit.com

Jessica Mazzucco is an NYC area certified fitness trainer and founder of The Glute Recruit®  A native New Yorker, she graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Adelphi University. The latter enables her to use skills of therapeutic communication and client centeredness to help her clients transition through change. Jessica has over 7 years of experience in the fitness industry and a multitude of diverse fitness certifications including :

World Instructor Training Schools (WITS) Personal Training Certification

National Posture Institute (NPI) Certified Posture Specialist + Certified Resistance Training Professional

ViPR – Vitality Performance Reconditioning – Level 1 Trainer

Kettlebell Athletics – Kettlebell Level 1 Trainer

Prenatal/Postnatal

SRT (Soft Release Technique) – Lower Body Fascial Stretch Therapist

Areas of Focus

Her specialties include butt sculpt/lift through exercise, resistance, strength and weight training for women, nutrition, muscle building, flexibility, mobility, posture enhancement, and pre and post-natal workout regimens.  Jess has trained celebrities such as former MSNBC Legal Analyst Mimi Rocah and country singer Jessica Lynn. 

Her personal journey

Jess has helped women worldwide achieve their fitness and lifestyle goals. She embarked on her own journey toward a healthier lifestyle in 2010 when she realized how unhealthy she was physically due to poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. Her weight gain had led her to develop low self-confidence and poor relationships with food. Healthy dietary changes and slow implementation of exercise helped Jess to become physically healthier and restore her self-esteem. This success gave her the platform to pursue a career in fitness and personal training. Her mission is to educate women on how to take control of their lives and become the healthiest versions of themselves without setting unrealistic goals of an “ideal” body type.

 

New Habits: Should They Be Left In Lockdown?

We had a lot of time to learn and perfect new habits over the last year, and many people are keen to continue taking the time to do them even as life goes back to normal. Of course, there may be some habits that are better left, but there have been many great habits people have formed that have really made a difference in their lives and allowed them to find a new passion in life. However, just what are these, why are they worth keeping onto, and could it provide you with inspiration to try it yourself? Keep reading to find out more.

Featured Photo from Vuelio

The Lockdown Kitchen

It was prime time to start getting creative in the kitchen. With so much time at home, people uncovered a love for cooking and baking in the kitchen. From having different themes to using new ingredients and learning new skills, many felt inspired by television shows such as The Great British Bake Off or Masterchef, while others may have been gifted the present of time and were finally able to start testing out recipes from a forgotten cookbook. Not only was there more time for cooking, but everyone had longer to take a moment to plan out a week of eating. To the foodies who never had enough time, this was heaven.

Not only were people more likely to use their stock in the cupboards (because of the essential-only shopping trips), but they had a knock-on effect of a better quality and healthier diet. Overall, this habit should definitely be taken out of lockdown and carried on into post-lockdown life.

The Lockdown Garden

Many were lucky enough in lockdown to have a space, big or small, outside of their four walls in the form of a garden. With so much time spent out there, it got many people thinking more creatively and making the most of their time outside. A survey from Squire Garden Centres concluded that 77% of people did more gardening during lockdown than they would normally do.

From gardening, the same respondents of the survey said it gave them a sense of achievement but also an outlet for stress and a source of much-needed happiness. This kind of positivity should be taken with everyone who found comfort in it from lockdown.

The Lockdown Knitting

Knitting may not have appealed to the masses, to begin with, but once gifted with time, many tried their hand at the skill, and so lockdown provided a lifeline for many wool stores in London. Knitting, obviously, creates a beautiful piece of art, a wooly hat or a newborns’ first blanket, but it has the added bonus of stimulating the mind. Knitting has proven to mimic the rhythmic repetition of mediation, thereby calming those who ‘practice’ the skill and is well worth continuing long after lockdown. You find all your essentials online from wool stores and take guidance from online resources.

The Lockdown Decorating

Interestingly, homeware brand Habitat announced that what consumers watched (or binged) on the television influenced the decoration of their homes. This is a dangerous game, as what could be deemed as stylish in the 1900s period drama may not sit so nicely in a modern home.

This trend should definitely be used sparingly. Otherwise, the front room may look like the set studio for a production company!

Throughout the global pandemic, everyone needed to seek comfort in their home, whether that meant small home improvement projects, getting your fingers green, smelling out the kitchen with delicious cooking or baking, or getting stuck into a challenging skill like knitting, They all brought a sense of calmness and relaxation. As a society, these skills should be taken back into reality, where new skills can flourish in classes, groups, or even to show off your new dish at a dinner party.

Collaborative Post

Vice President Kamala Harris inspires in First Trailer for ‘VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: CHASE THE DREAM’

Legacy Distribution is proud to present Vice President Kamala Harris: Chase The Dream, a revealing feature-length biography that traces the tenacious and trailblazing prosecutor from Oakland, California, to the White House.
Executive Produced by Dana Webber (Michelle Obama: Life After The White House) and Brian Aebech, this new documentary brings to light the pivotal events in Harris’ life which fueled her journey to the highest-ranking office of any female in U.S. history.
Featured Photo:  USNews.com
Vice President Kamala Harris: Chase The Dream is now available on Amazon Prime. Link Here.
Chase The Dream captures the issues, the debates, the political deftness, and the campaign-winning smile, which helped lead Kamala Harris to the White House. On January 21, 2021, at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Kamala Harris took her place in history, not only realizing one of her dreams, but inspiring generations ahead to chase theirs.

WAFF48 Lifestyle Segment: National Hot Breakfast Month Blueberry Brie Melt

February was National Hot Breakfast Month.  Nationwide, food retailers were encouraging everyone to start their day with a warm meal.  I couldn’t agree more because there are so many benefits to eating a hot breakfast.  Number one, breakfast foods help fuel the body and provide a sharper focus while boosting the metabolism.

In support of this initiative, I hosted a lifestyle segment live from my kitchen!  It was a lot of fun because I was able to inspire the local Huntsville audience with a delicious meal.

Julian’s Recipe Blueberry & Brie Melt

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 Julian’s Recipe Wafels
  • 4 ounces of brie cheese, thinly sliced

 

Directions:

Combine the blueberries, lemon zest and sugar in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

Place the butter in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Then place your wafels into the pan.

Add 4-5 slices of brie cheese on top followed by a generous scoop of the blueberry compote.

Add the second wafel on top and then flip! Allow 2-3 minutes per side or until golden.

Serve while hot and enjoy!

Click on the link to watch the segment:  WAFF48