The Essence Music Fest 2017 is officially in the record books and, as always, the weekend was filled with a plethora of Black Excellence. Stars and filmmakers from movies and TV shows such as "Power," "Queen Sugar," "Black Panther," "Girls Trip," "Survivor's Remorse," "Snowfall," "Empire," and "She's Gotta Have It" all came to New Orleans to give fans and press some insight into their projects.
And then there was the music. Oh the music. As always, Essence hit a crescendo when the uber legends booked for the festival took the stage.
Diana Ross is 73 years old, but during her dynamic headlining turn on Friday, she sounded vintage like it was 1973. Chaka Khan killed; Xscspe had a successful reunion despite tremendous uproar that the four ladies were not booked to perform on the main festival stage; Master P's No Limit reunion just didn't flow, but Snoop and Mystikal really held the team down; and the Queen Mary J. Blige had the best performance of the weekend: sanctified, soulful, and supreme.S he's become an Essence staple, taking the banner from Frankie Beverly and Maze.
"Essence Fest is Black love," Spike Lee said, standing with some members of the cast of his new Netflix series "She's Gotta Have It" at the New Orleans Convention Center. "People come together from all over the United States. All over the world to show that love. Descendents of Mother Af-Free-Ca. Black Queens. It's a great thing to come together."
"The women are great. I love em," said "Empire" star Bryshere Gray elsewhere at the Convention center. "The energy from the female fans I have...they go hard, bro."
Iylana Vanzant who has become a fixture at Essence with several speaking engagements over the years said she was grateful to be returning.
"I'm glad to be back this year," the famed life coach said. "Glad to be here to see this 23 years started by a vision by Suzanne Taylor when she was the Editor-In-Chief of Essence. The party with a purpose. Black folks are bringing money into New Orleans and loving each other and serving each other. It's just a beautiful thing to me."