LALA ANTHONY STUNS ON ESSENCE SEPT/OCT COVER

In the September-October issue of ESSENCE, La La Anthony — best-selling author, actress, designer, producer, and multihyphenate maven — graces the cover and provides perspective on the often-discussed issue of Black women and identity. In the cover story, Finding Success on Her Own Terms, Anthony talks candidly with ESSENCE Deputy Editor Allison McGevna about everything from co-parenting, raising and protecting her Black son in America, celebrating her Afro-Latina identity and the importance of telling Cyntoia Brown’s story.

 

She shares with ESSENCE:

  • ON PROUDLY BEING AFRO-LATINA: “I’m Afro-Latina: I’m Black, I’m Puerto Rican, I’m all of it. I’m proud of it.’ But no one really understood that. They were like, ‘You’re one or the other, and that’s it…”
  • RAISING A BLACK SON IN AMERICA: “I always talk to him about how he needs to deal with police. It’s sad that these are the conversations we have to have with our children, but this is the world we live in. I make sure he knows that and understands the seriousness of it. I’m not trying to scare him in any way, but I want him to live in reality.”
  • HER APPROACH TO CO-PARENTING WITH CARMELO ANTHONY: “My son is at the center of everything… he is watching us, so if we’re out here being reckless or not leading with love, then what kind of example are we setting for him about how he should treat women or how people treat and love each other? … A lot of times, people forget that, and I understand, because you get emotional when you’re going through different things in relationships. But I always want my son to be able to say, ‘No matter what, my parents loved each other. My parents loved me.”
  • ON BRINGING CYNTOIA BROWN’S STORY TO THE SCREEN: “For her to trust me with this story, after everything she’s been through, it’s not something I take lightly.”

Timed with its cover launch, also ESSENCE announces the newly launched online hub titled “Protect Black Women and Girls.” As the leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women and their communities for 50 years, the hub was created to help provide more persistent visibility of systemic racism, racial inequities, and police misconduct today with particular attention to justice yet seen for the Black women of the movement like Breonna Taylor and Toyin Salau. The hub includes a series of essays and op-eds from Black women activists, academics, and thought-leaders including Tarana Burke, Kimberlé Crenshaw, LaTosha Brown, and more. As Kimberle Crenshaw says in her original essay for the hub, “If we are ever to truly protect young Black women like Toyin Salau or Breonna Taylor, we must first tell their stories.”  For more on ESSENCE’s Protect Black Women and Girls Hub, visit ESSENCE.com.

The September-October issue of ESSENCE hits newsstands on Tuesday, August 25. For more on this month’s issue, visit ESSENCE.com.

ESSENCE ANNOUNCES THE ESSENCE ESSENTIAL HEROES AWARDS HONORING ESSENTIAL WORKERS ON THE FRONTLINE OF COVID-19 #myessentialheroes

WHAT:                        As the fight against COVID-19 rages on, government and public health officials work to provide recommendations for reopening America. However, there is a heated debate as to whether these guidelines can do more harm than good—especially for the many essential workers who continue to be on the frontlines helping to ensure the nation’s health, safety, and essential needs are met. Whether working in the nation’s hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, delivery, and transportation services more, these are the brave women and men risking their lives to ensure that others can stay home safely.

ESSENCE is committed to honoring these workers with its first-ever ESSENCE Essential Heroes Awards program. This three-part, the year-long franchise will highlight those in our community who, despite systematic disparities, have risen to become Essential Heroes during this pandemic. ESSENCE will invite its audience to submit and vote on the essential heroes in their lives and communities for a chance to be featured.

In addition, the 50 ESSENCE Essential Heroes selected will be honored during the virtual ESSENCE Festival of Culture on July 4th, which will be streamed live via ESSENCE Studios.

Share your story and nominate an essential working using the hashtag #myessentialheroes.

WHEN:                                      Submission deadline extended to Tuesday, May 19th via #myessentialheroes

 

ESSENCE Studios Stream National HBCU Commencement Celebration Live

Like most academic institutions around the country, Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been forced to cancel or postpone graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To celebrate the achievements of more than 27,000 students, Black leaders and 78 schools are joining forces virtually during the “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition” commencement event presented by Chase on May 16 at 2:00 pm ET.

President Barack Obama will share a special message during the event. Hosted by Kevin Hart, guest appearances for the 2-hour event will include Steve Harvey, Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett, Ariel Investments Co-CEO and President Mellody Hobson, National Urban League president, Marc Morial, and academic leaders from participating HBCUs. Other participants include 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, 8-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter, Debbie Allen, and Vivica Fox.

The virtual commencement will also include performances by Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, Omari Hardwick, and other musical guests—as well as a drumline mash-up featuring Doug E. Fresh.

The 2-hour event will be live-streamed on Chase’s YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels, as well as HBCU Connect’s Facebook page and Essence Studios. More information is available on chase.com/hbcustudent, including a list of participating schools.

During the event, HBCUs will showcase and highlight past and current graduates, including Class of 2020 students from Howard University, Delaware State, Paul Quinn College, Florida Memorial College, and Texas Southern Law Center.

“Every student graduating in the Class of 2020 deserves to celebrate this moment—they earned it, even more so during a challenging year for our country and the world. We are showing up for them because we recognize they are our now and our future, and the way forward is full of opportunity,” said Duckett.

The idea for hosting a virtual commencement ceremony for HBCU students was conceived by Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College (PQC), and member of the ABP Advisory Council. Additional organizers for the event include Howard University, The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the National Basketball Association (NBA.) Essence is supporting the event as a live streaming partner.

“As a result of COVID-19, our students have been robbed of a moment that they and their families have earned,” Sorrell said. “I am so grateful that this coalition of partners stepped up to answer the call of the HBCU community and stand in the gap for our students and their families.”

JPMorgan Chase is supporting “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition” through its Advancing Black Pathways (ABP) initiative, created to help black communities close historical achievement gaps in three key areas: wealth creation, educational outcomes, and career success. Support for HBCUs is a core focus for JPMorgan Chase because of the vital role they continue to play in helping African Americans forge pathways to long-term success. The first HBCUs were founded before the Civil War, and these institutions educated generations of African Americans during a period when other colleges and universities would not.

Today, HBCUs produce 70% of African American doctors and dentists1, 50% of black lawyers and 80% of black judges.2 HBCU graduates can also expect work-life earnings of $130 billion—an additional $927,000 per graduate, 56 percent more than they could expect to earn without their HBCU degrees or certificates, according to UNCF.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities remain a critical resource in educating our young people and putting them on a path to lasting and rewarding careers,” said Sekou Kaalund, the Head of ABP. “Here at JPMorgan Chase, we are firmly committed to supporting HBCUs and helping them continue a tradition of excellence that has helped generations of black people achieve academic and professional success.”

Iconic Supermodel Naomi Campbell Graces Essence 50th Anniversary Issue

For months, ESSENCE – the leading media, technology, and commerce company serving Black women and communities – had planned an impressive schedule of activities and celebrations to launch in May 2020 in honor of its 50th anniversary.  Then, the COVID-19 global pandemic hit – with Black communities being most disproportionately impacted in the United States.  Still, demonstrating how it has been able to thrive for five decades, ESSENCE has continued with a relentless commitment and innovation in service to its community – providing critical contentdigital and virtual offeringsa new streaming platform, and more to inform, empower and inspire during these times.

That same sense of purpose compelled ESSENCE to shift its 50th anniversary strategy amidst the pandemic and launch its Golden Anniversary Collector’s Edition issue entirely remotely for the first time — paying homage to the incredible legacy of its community, while also capturing the current realities brought on by a global pandemic.  In honor of ESSENCE’s milestone year, iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell partnered with ESSENCE to grace the magazine’s first self-shot and styled cover.  In Campbell’s cover story, At Home With Naomi Campbell, the supermodel prepares to celebrate her own milestone 50th birthday later this month and takes readers inside her life with an intimate self-portrait during COVID-19 social isolation.  Using an iPhone, Campbell shot and styled all the photos herself — marking the first time she has ever photographed herself for a cover.

ESSENCE’s special Golden Anniversary issue also takes a look at some of the joys, pains, laughter, triumphs, and stories that have impacted the Black community over the past half-century—including the novel coronavirus and its effects on the lives of Black women and the community-at-large today.  Throughout this special edition, readers will be able to travel through time for some of the most inspiring, stirring, and significant moments shaping and shaped by Black culture throughout ESSENCE’s 50 years—as well as look to what’s ahead, particularly post-COVID-19.  ESSENCE is also inviting its community into the coverage and conversation by sharing their own COVID-19 stories for ESSENCE.com.  Click here for details.

“Our nation and our world are enduring a crisis at a scale that our generation has never seen, but this time also reminds us of the power of our resilience, innovation, and community – which have sustained ESSENCE for 50 years and will help ensure it thrives for the next 50 advancing global Black culture, economic inclusion, and ownership,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder, and chair of Essence Ventures, the parent company of ESSENCE. “We could not be more excited to mark the 50th Anniversary of ESSENCE as a 100% Black-owned business that has not only revolutionized the publishing and media industries, but that has also become a cultural institution and home for Black women and communities globally.  Since its inaugural issue in May 1970, ESSENCE has expanded beyond the pages of a ground-breaking flagship magazine to multi-platform stages, experiences, and digital and brand extensions including the unparalleled ESSENCE Festival of Culture, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood, ESSENCE.com, ESSENCE Studios, industry-recognized podcasts, television specials, books and more.  We have been able to do this because of our uncompromising focus on the evolving needs of our community and our community’s unyielding support of us.  While we have shifted the majority of the ESSENCE 50th Anniversary activities and engagements to 2021, this incredible special collector’s edition issue marks the beginning of our milestone celebration of Black culture, community, achievement, progress, and the work that remains to be done.”

 Additional 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition editorial packages include:

  • COVID-19 Essay Feature: ESSENCE editors share their personal journeys of adjusting to the new reality of social isolation in these challenging times.  Despite differing experiences, the essays have a common thread of what ESSENCE staff and the world are looking for hope.

  • ESSENCE Uncovered: 50 Years: ESSENCE compiles its most iconic covers along with an essay/timeline on its evolution over the last five decades. The package illustrates ESSENCE’s impact, as well as the impact of those whose stories graced its pages.

  • Power—State of Black Women: By the Numbers: ESSENCE takes a deep dive into how Black women are doing and how their lives have changed over the last five decades across its key verticals—Fashion, Beauty, Culture, Power (News + Wealth) and Thrive (Lifestyle, Wellness + Love).
  • Ageless Beauties: #ThisIs50: In this fan-favorite feature, ESSENCE invites eight readers from across the nation who, like ESSENCE, is turning 50 this year for an exclusive photoshoot and beauty spread.

“For 50 years ESSENCE has showcased the brilliance, beauty, power, and resilience of Black women, and now more than ever, in these unprecedented times, that is on display,” said MoAna Luu, ESSENCE Chief Content & Creative Officer.  “In our Golden Anniversary issue, we are taking the best of the past, bringing it to the present and showing what our future looks like beyond the pages.  By creating a meaningful multi-channel ecosystem that entertains with impact, we continue to reimagine ourselves to reach Black women everywhere and provide a seamless content experience across mobile, tablet, desktop, and of course, our signature magazine.  At ESSENCE, our approach to what we do and how we serve is timeless – reflecting and celebrating our culture and telling the truth with open hearts and open minds.”

For more on the 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition/May-June issue, visit ESSENCE.com.

ESSENCE WILL STREAM NATIONAL HBCU COMMENCEMENT CELEBRATION

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis that has forced colleges and universities across the nation to postpone their commencement celebrations, a coalition of HBCU leaders, advocacy organizations, and corporate partners have come together to host the National HBCU Commencement Celebration.  The virtual event, the brainchild of Paul Quinn College president Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, will be streamed live internationally on ESSENCE Studios (www.essencestudios.com) thanks to a partnership with ESSENCE – the leading media, technology, and commerce company serving Black women and communities for 50 years.

The celebration will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2020, and will feature celebrity hosts, motivational speakers, musical performances, and the profiles of HBCU valedictorians and other graduates. In addition to highlighting this year’s graduates and their institutions, the event will raise funds for participating HBCUs and their students.

As the result of COVID-19, our students have been robbed of a moment that they and their families have earned,” said Sorrell. “I am so grateful that this coalition of partners stepped up to answer the call of the HBCU community and stand in the gap for our students and their families.”

In addition to Paul Quinn College, the celebration is being organized by Howard University, The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Thurgood Marshal College Fund (TMCF), and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The event is being supported by several partners, including ESSENCE, JPMorgan Chase, and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“We are excited that graduates from our member-schools will receive the public recognition that they earned and deserved,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President, and CEO of TMCF, which represents 47-member schools. “This celebratory event is an effort to lift up all of our students and to let them know that we are proud of their hard work and perseverance, especially during these difficult times.”

Dr. Michael Lomax, President, and CEO of UNCF praised the event and said that the celebration will reinforce the importance and history of HBCUs.

“For 76 years, UNCF has helped more than half a million students graduate from college, and our mission remains the same even as we grapple with the impact of COVID-19,” said Lomax. “Students who receive a UNCF scholarship have a 70% graduation rate. I hope this program inspires viewers to support students to become college graduates.”

Funds raised during the event will go into an emergency fund to support HBCU students and will be distributed by TMCF and UNCF.  These dollars will go a long way in helping students who have been impacted by COVID-19.

“NAFEO is excited to join Dr. Michael Sorrell in realizing his vision and the dream of giving back to HBCU seniors, perhaps the most unfathomable aspect of their abrupt exile—the canceling of the commencement ceremonies,” said Lezli Baskerville, President, and CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. “Denying the seniors and their families the opportunity to participate in the ceremonial walk down the aisle to higher ground and the receipt of a ticket to greater economic security, greater independence, opportunities for service, and leadership is a celebration we would not permit for our sons and daughters and their families to miss.”

Added Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University: “Every HBCU in the country has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic due to interruptions to our academic year and the challenging transition to online learning,” said Frederick. “However, the loss that our seniors are experiencing with the abrupt end to their final semester and subsequent cancellation of the commencement convocation is the most heartbreaking part of this crisis. Hopefully this opportunity to come together as an HBCU community and celebrate these exceptional students will express our sincere gratitude to these scholars for their individual contributions to their respective institutions.”

JPMorgan Chase is supporting this effort through its Advancing Black Pathways initiative, which is committed to helping the black community achieve meaningful gains in three areas: educational achievement, career success, and wealth creation.

“Graduating from college is a sacred moment in a student’s life, and we are honored to support HBCUs, students and their families as we navigate one of the most unique and challenging periods in our nation’s history,” said Sekou Kaalund, the Head of Advancing Black Pathways. “Education is core to our mission of creating opportunity, and we are committed to helping black college students and graduates navigate this difficult environment and get on a path to lasting and rewarding careers.”

These deserving students have earned the right to commemorate and celebrate the tremendous accomplishment of receiving their diploma and launching the next phase of their lives,” said Oris Stuart, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer for the NBA. “The NBA is proud to support HBCUs and honor their graduates during this momentous occasion.”

“HBCUs have served as educational, social, and legacy pillars in the Black community for generations and continue to be an invaluable treasure to the nation,” said Richelieu Dennis, Founder, and Chair, Essence Ventures, the parent company of ESSENCE.  “For more than 180 years, these institutions have equipped students with the critical tools needed to create pathways to success and have cultivated generations of vanguards, trailblazers, and leaders.  As we come together to develop innovative solutions for these unprecedented times, we are excited to utilize our ESSENCE Studios platform to provide thousands of 2020 HBCU graduates and their loved ones from around the world with the special commencement experience and celebration they deserve.”

ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit and New Voices + Target Accelerators $100K Pitch Competition

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the nation and the world, Black communities are being impacted at drastically disproportionate rates. However, while the impact of COVID-19 shines a spotlight on the already fragile health and economic ecosystems of Black communities and Black-owned small businesses, economic recovery efforts – such as the quickly-depleted initial $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act – are not effectively reaching many of the entrepreneurs and businesses most in need. To help address this, ESSENCE, the leading media, technology, and commerce company serving Black women, today announced the creation of the ESSENCE Benefit Seriesä to Fight COVID-19 to assist Black-owned small businesses and organizations across the country impacted by the pandemic.

The ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19 kicks off with the first-ever ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit and New Voices + Target Accelerators $100K Pitch Competition – which will be streamed live on ESSENCE Studios on Friday, April 24th, from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET. The Entrepreneur Virtual Summit will equip Black business owners with valuable tools needed to navigate this unprecedented time, including access to capital, practical insights, and critical resources. The Summit will also include the New Voices + Target Accelerators $100K Pitch Competition, featuring 10 women entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to receive critical funding combined with coaching, mentoring, and personalized business skills development.

The Entrepreneur Virtual Summit will feature informative sessions with some of the most influential business leaders across industries, covering topics including Navigating Coronavirus Relief; Raising Capital Right Now; Adapting During Crisis; Managing the New Normal; Developing A Winning Playbook: Now & Post-COVID and more. Speakers include Robert F. Smith, Chairman, Vista Equity Partners, LLC; Caroline Wanga, Chief Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President of Human Resources, Target Corporation; Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer, Endeavor; Marcus Samuelsson, Chef and Restaurateur; Melissa Butler, CEO, The Lip Bar; Elisa Shankle, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert; Nicole Valentine, Chief Executive Officer, Synergy Business Development; Robin McBride, Co-founder, McBride Sisters Wine Collection; and more.

During this Summit and each to follow in the Benefit Series – as well as throughout this crisis, virtual attendees will have an opportunity to support Black-owned businesses that are in critical need of access to funding and resources by donating to the New Voices Foundation. The New Voices Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization driven by its PACE (Purpose.Access.Capital.Expertise) model and founded by serial entrepreneur and social impact investor Richelieu Dennis, is committed to creating a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem and currently has 13,000+ women of color entrepreneurs on its platform. Offering leadership development, flexible funding, skills-building and networking opportunities to build, grow and scale their businesses with purpose, the Foundation operates with a multi-pronged approach and services that entrepreneurs can access free of charge, including mobile accelerators, coaching and mentoring, pitch competitions, online masterclasses, and more.

Upcoming virtual experiences in the ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19 include the first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition (July 4th weekend), as well as other summits, focused on entertainment, personal finance, technology, essential heroes and more.

 “We have long known about the systemic healthcare and economic inequities that are causing Black communities and businesses to fare worse than others during the COVID-19 global pandemic, but we also now see that we are in danger of losing critical progress as a community unless urgent and meaningful actions are taken,” said Dennis, also founder & chair of Essence Ventures, the parent company of ESSENCE. “Black-owned businesses serve as economic engines in our communities across the nation, and entrepreneurship and ownership remain the most viable paths to bridging the abysmal wealth gap and creating generational wealth. Yet, as critical initial stimulus funding ran out without reaching many of those who need it most and with new funding not guaranteed to reach these same businesses, not enough is being done to help ensure their post-pandemic financial survival and the long-term health of our communities.”

Dennis continued, “The ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19 and each of its virtual summits are a direct response to this dire need. While ESSENCE has used its platform over the past 50 years to support entrepreneurs and provide commerce opportunities for Black-owned businesses, we have accelerated these efforts – particularly with investments in digital and technology innovation – since returning the brand to 100% Black ownership in 2018. Now, operating under our Community Commerce purpose-driven model of elevating communities by providing access and opportunities that lead to sustainable economic empowerment, this is how ESSENCE will continue to serve our community in this crisis and beyond. We’ve always been able to count on each other – and that is more important now than ever.”

ESSENCE’s cultivation of entrepreneurship and commerce within Black communities has previously included supporting more than 3,000 small businesses at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture Marketplace; featuring more than 100 small businesses on the Shop ESSENCE platform; engaging hundreds of small business owners in Louisiana to participate in the Pipeline Initiative to grow entrepreneurship and technical career opportunities; and more.

At the outset of the global pandemic designation in March, ESSENCE created the ESSENCE of the Matter: COVID-19’s Impact on Black America digital platform to provide Black women and communities with the tools, information, resources, solutions, inspiration, and empowerment needed to address the multitude of issues arising from the novel coronavirus crisis. The ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19 will now become a central part of this effort, which to date has included the first-ever virtual ESSENCE Wellness Houseä and ESSENCE CARES Act information sessions. In addition, the ESSENCE editorial team produces daily content on a dedicated page to educate the community on the coronavirus, its impact, and how to survive and thrive in this time.

The ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit is powered by Microsoft and brought to you by SheaMoisture and Advancing Black Pathways by JPMorgan Chase. To register for the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Virtual Summit or for more details, visit ESSENCE.com.

About Essence Communications Inc.

Essence Communications is the number one media, technology, and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 20.2 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned consumer technology company focused on merging content, community, and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

STATEMENT FROM ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. ON THE 2020 ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE

“New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell bravely recommended yesterday that no large events take place in New Orleans in 2020, and ESSENCE fully supports that decision.  After continued monitoring of the evolving developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic and remaining in close contact and collaboration with our partners in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, we are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture live experience – and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021.

 

We are excited to now announce that our ‘ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19’ will raise money and provide support for businesses and organizations in Black communities across the country and that our first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition taking place over July 4th weekend will be included in this effort as a multi-day experience and benefit celebration.  This Festival will be hosted on our new ESSENCE Studios streaming platform, which will extend the experience to communities everywhere providing unfettered access to the power, purpose, and party that has made the ESSENCE Festival the largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience in the world.  Women across the globe and their families will engage in interactive, live opportunities to be inspired, empowered, entertained and transformed as they enter a new economic, spiritual and wellness journey ahead.  The virtual Festival will be a benefit celebration in honor and support of the City of New Orleans, which has been an incredible partner over the Festival’s 26 years and continues to be especially hard hit during this crisis.

From the beginning, we have shared that the health, safety, and well-being of our Festival-goers, local citizens and others who contribute to making the Festival such a unique experience were our top concerns and would be the foremost considerations in our decision-making.  While we initially hoped that a reschedule from our July 2020 dates to later in the fall would be feasible, current information and projections by public health officials and agencies have made it increasingly clear that any large-scale events this year could potentially and unnecessarily put attendees and surrounding communities at risk.  So, what would have typically been a very difficult decision for us was not because people come first, and we will continue to do everything that we can to serve our community during this time.  We will honor all tickets sold for the 2020 Festival in 2021 and will also offer full refunds.  Ticket holders should visit essencefestival.com for further information.

 

‘ESSENCE and the City of New Orleans have a partnership that thrives in good times and is made even stronger in challenging times,” said Mayor Cantrell.  ‘We share an uncompromised commitment to the best interest of our local community and our tourist community, and the priorities right now are providing support to those who have been affected by the disproportionate impact of the pandemic here in New Orleans and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all.  We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our great city in 2021 for the return of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture and to once again helping to create such an unmatched and magical experience.”

 

‘We greatly appreciate the Essence family for working with the City of New Orleans and Louisiana as we face this ongoing public health crisis,’ said Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana.  ‘We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Essence family and look forward to continuing the celebration in 2021.’

 

We continue to understand that in these times, accurate information and critical resources from trusted sources are vital.  So, ESSENCE created the ESSENCE of the Matter: COVID-19’s Impact on Black America digital platform to provide Black women and communities with the tools, information, resources, solutions, inspiration, and empowerment needed to address the multitude of issues arising from this pandemic. ESSENCE Studios will deliver these live virtual experiences and produce the content our community needs as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time together and beyond.  Experiences to date have included our first-ever virtual ESSENCE Wellness Houseä and ESSENCE CARES Act information sessions, with the next – the  ESSENCE & New Voices Entrepreneur Summit – included in our Benefit Series and scheduled for Friday, April 24.  Visit essence.com  for more information.  In addition, our editorial team is producing daily content on our dedicated page to educate our community on the coronavirus, its impact, best practices for prevention and how we can not only survive, but thrive, through this time.’

 

ESSENCE LAUNCHES NEW DIGITAL SERIES FOCUSED ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON BLACK AMERICA

ESSENCE Communications Inc., the leading media, technology, and commerce company serving Black women, today announced a new digital series focused on providing Black women and communities with the tools and information needed to address issues arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The series, ESSENCE Wellness House: A Virtual Summit, Episode One: Taking Care in the Wake of a Global Pandemic, will include live online experiences that promote physical, mental, emotional, occupational, financial and entrepreneurial well-being during this unprecedented time.  ESSENCE Wellness House series will be powered by Quantasy.

ESSENCE Wellness House: A Virtual Summit will kick off with the first-ever virtual ESSENCE Wellness House on Tuesday, March 31st, and Wednesday, April 1st from 9:00 A.M.–4:30 P.M. (ET).  The ESSENCE Wellness House will be streamed live on ESSENCE Studios via Essence.com and will offer resources for physical, emotional and financial wellness.  The free, two-day virtual summit will convene some of the top wellness practitioners, medical professionals, and leading experts and influencers. All participants waived their honorariums in lieu of a charitable contribution that ESSENCE will make to the partnership effort between National Action Network (NAN) and World Central Kitchen to deliver thousands of hot and cold meals daily to those in need.

Transforming a key offline experience to an online platform, the virtual ESSENCE Wellness House furthers ESSENCE’s 50-year commitment to supporting Black women’s health and livelihood. The summit’s robust digital experiences will include meditation, wellness tips, cooking workshops, fitness workouts, storytime for children, virtual dance parties and more. Highlights of the virtual ESSENCE Wellness House include:

  • Morning Meditations led by Faith Hunter
  • Uplifting inspirational messages by Iyanla Vanzant, Michael Beckwith, and Pastor A.R. Bernard
  • Get the facts about COVID-19 and boosting your immunity with Dr. Patrice Harris, MD., M.A., and Dr. Lauren Powell
  • Get tips on how to stay mentally sane with Charlamagne Tha God and advice on how to handle your loved ones with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford and Dr. Sherry Blake
  • Learn how to manage your money with Tiffany Aliche “The Budgetnista”
  • Discover hassle-free food recipes with Gina Neely
  • Get tips on fun DIY projects for your kids with Rosalynn Daniels
  • Get your body moving with Brukwine dance moves and body-sculpting workouts with ShaNay Norvell
  • And the bonus of a children’s storytime reading by LeVar Burton

“As we come together to safely get through the COVID-19 crisis, it is critical that we do not allow social distancing to morph into social disconnection,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder, and chair of Essence Ventures, the parent company of Essence Communications, Inc.  “So, ESSENCE is leveraging its platform and resources for the continued creation, convening and empowerment of the community.  We know that health disparities in our community have widened with the increase in economic inequality and that more prevalent underlying health conditions can increase the incidences of severe and potentially fatal cases of COVID-19.  We also know that necessary measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and business closures, are likely to have a more significant economic impact on our communities and small businesses.  So, more than ever, access to empowering information and opportunities is vital, and the health of Black women, their families, and our communities depends on it.”

ESSENCE DIGITAL COVER: BLACK WOMEN IN BEAUTY

ESSENCE’s newest digital cover features 17 game-changing Black women working in the beauty industry who demonstrate that pretty can be powerful in business as well as in everyday life. In the story Beautiful Minds, ESSENCE shines a light on beauty bosses who are each positioned at some of the biggest brands in the world and making their presence felt. Meet these inspiring executives and learn why their efforts mean so much to them–and to women of color everywhere. For more on this latest issue, visit ESSENCE.com.