You can’t mention then 20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival without mentioning Ford Motor Company. The automaker took over New Orleans throughout the entire ESSENCE Fest weekend!
As the automotive-exclusive sponsor for the sixth-consecutive year, Ford activated on-site at the Earnest N. Memorial Convention Center providing fun giveaways including the chance to win the keys to the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang in addition to continuing its support of breast cancer awareness within the community.
As a premiere sponsor of the weekend, Ford partnered with SiriusXM Satellite radio for a live broadcast with celebrities all weekend long. Ford also took R&B Songstress Sevyn Streeter on a road to ESSENCE Fest journey celebrating her birthday weekend with dinner and a live streamed power-packed performance from the ESSENCE Festival Ford Superlounge.
If that wasn’t enough, Ford’s philanthropic arm was in full swing donating $20,000 to ESSENCE Communications for local community use, a million-dollar donation to the African American Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC and a 2015 Ford Mustang giveaway to an ESSENCE Fest attendee.
This past weekend, I got the chance to get behind the wheel of the 2014 Ford Mustang in New Orleans, check out my ride and drive experience below.
Discover more of how Ford celebrates ESSENCE Festival all weekend long below…
photos by Chris Mitchell / CME 3000 / DivasandDorks
An annual staple to ESSENCE Festival weekend, the McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. This year’s event was hosted by actor/television host Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins and actress Tika Sumpter and was held in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival™ presented by Coca-Cola®.
Notable community leaders, celebrities and entertainers were out in full force at this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards, held during ESSENCE Festival weekend at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
They were joined by a full house of spectators who converged to salute this year’s recipients of the distinguished award, including civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton; film producer Will Packer; music executive Kevin Liles; inspirational leader Iyanla Vanzant; former NFL athlete Dhani Jones; and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry Coaxum. Additionally, artist Skyler Grey and entrepreneur Gabrielle Jordan Williams were recognized alongside this lineup with the first-ever McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award.
“We commend all of this year’s honorees for their diligent service and dedication to bettering our communities,” said Rob Jackson, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “We are proud to continue this tradition of recognition and are grateful for the contributions of all 365Black Awards honorees, both past and present.”
I caught up with Terrance Jenkins, Will Packer, Kevin Liles and more on the McDonald’s Golden Carpet. Check out our special correspondent and what the honorees had to say about ESSENCE Festival, The McDonald’s 365 Black Awards and more below…
R&B recording artist and New Orleans’ own Ledisi opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for the soulful sounds of Pastor Kim Burrell, Tank, Leela James, Jazmine Sullivan, Kierra Sheard and Mali Music. Singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner were among celebrities on hand to present the illustrious awards.
Watch the McDonald’s 365 Black Awards broadcast August 10 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m on BET®. The awards ceremony will also air on CENTRIC on August 17 at 11 p.m. EDT/10 p.m. CDT. You can also follow @McDScene on Twitter for commentary on the awards and join the conversation using #365BlackAwards.
photos by Chris Mitchell / CME 3000 / DivasandDorks
The 20th Annual ESSENCE Festival attracted a record-breaking 550,000 attendees from around the world to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend, making it the largest attended ESSENCE Fest weekend in history. As part of its long-standing commitment to touch and improve the lives of African-American women, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is proud to be a title sponsor of the 2014 ESSENCE Festival for the seventh straight year. This year, P&G’s My Black is Beautiful inspired women to celebrate and share their “Beauty In Action” during the 2014 ESSENCE Festival and beyond by providing signature experiences with its partner brands, CoverGirl® Queen Collection, Pantene®, Clairol® Professional, Olay®, Gain®, Bounty®, Charmin® and Puffs®.
During the day, the My Black is Beautiful booth was the epicenter of excitement as men and women enjoyed fun makeovers, live music, celebrity meet-and-greets with The Braxtons, Mali Music, Lisa Nichols plus many more. Guests also got to meet the six newly crowned 2014 “MBIB” Ambassadors who were on hand throughout the weekend to motivate, excite and galvanize attendees to affect positive change in their local community.
The My Black Is Beautiful – Beauty in Action dinner was a powerful evening of music, inspiration and conversation. Led by empowerment leader Lisa Nichols and WE TV stars – The Braxtons, guests were encouraged to change the way we view and discuss beauty to our family, peers, sisters and future generations. Mali Music performed “Beautiful” off of his latest project “Mali Is…” and guests left charged to celebrate their “Beauty In Action” each and everyday.
For more information about My Black is Beautiful, visit www.myblackisbeautiful.com and follow the conversation on facebook.com/MBIB, Instagram (@MBIB) and Twitter (@MBIB), using hashtags #MBIB and #BIAJourney.
photos by Chris Mitchell / CME 3000 / DivasandDorks
Summer music festival season is in full swing! Your favorite artist tour schedules have been announced and after a horrid winter, you’re ready to make this the best outdoor summer ever! I’ve kicked off my summer festival experience in a way unlike I have ever done before camping out a few weeks ago at Firefly Music Festival, but nothing compares to the excitement and anticipation for the 20th Anniversary of the Essence Music Festival (currently known as Essence Fest 2014).
GUESS WHO’S HEADED BACK TO THE BIG EASY?”
Thanks to the official Essence Fest 2014 sponsors McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Verizon Wireless and Ford, I’ve been invited to get an inside look and exclusive experience of this historical summer event and I’ll be taking you along for the ride! Stay tuned to DivasandDorks.com, DivasDriveInHeels.com for exclusive celebrity interviews, concert performances and more ALL WEEKEND LONG!
From insider beauty secrets for summer from beauty guru Sam Fine, to talking powerful networking with Verizon and Morris Chesnut (I’ll even get some time with the electric lady herself, Janelle Monae to talk Cover Girl status & opening for his purple majesty – Prince!) For all things Essence Fest related, follow the fun online via #EssenceFest and click back here often for updated photos, videos and posts all weekend long!
Whether he’s working on the set of NBC’s “Crisis,” or starring in big screen dramas like “Temptation,” Lance Gross is quite busy these days. We recently caught up with the Verizon Potential of Us influencer, and he told us the top five apps he can’t live without:
- Instagram — In this business, I meet a lot of great people and travel to beautiful places. I love posting pictures of the people I’ve met and places I’ve visited along the way.
- iTunes — I don’t know where I’d be without my music. iTunes gives me easy access to my favorite songs at all times. There’s nothing like sitting back and listening to some tunes after a long day.
- Vine — I love to watch videos on Vine. It’s amazing what people can do in six seconds.
- Flight Tracking App — I’m always traveling, so having flight information in the palm of my hand is convenient. This flight tracking app allows me to manage my trips, check flight statuses and choose travel preferences.
- Photo Editor — I’m an avid photographer. With tools that allow me to fix red eyes or add effects to my photos, this app is a one-stop shop for picture editing.
What are some of your favorite must-have apps? Share your favorites in the comments below.
The BET Awards show, broadcast live from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, culminated a weekend-long BET Experience. Today’s hottest performers took the stage during the awards presentation, and BET honored singers, actors, actresses, and athletes with awards during the entertainment packed show, hosted by the very funny, Chris Rock.
Did you miss the BET Awards fashions last night in Los Angeles? Celebrities walked the red carpet, ki-ki’d and worked their best red carpet looks Sunday night. Check out our favorite fashion hits, misses and complete list of award winners below.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
Best Group: Young Money
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: Pharrell Williams
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce
Best Collaboration: Beyonce featuring Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
Subway Sportsman of the Year: Kevin Durant
Subway Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
Video of the Year: Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
Best Male Hip Hop Artist: Drake
Best Gospel Artist: Tamela Mann
Best New Artist: August Alsina
Best Female Hip Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
Best Movie: “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o
YoungStars Award: Keke Palmer
Who were your favorite dressed stars on the red carpet?
An iconic National Treasure has passed away. Maya Angelou was a woman that inspired and influenced writers, actors and world-leaders throughout her illustrious 86-years on earth and will continue to inspire us for many years to come.
Angelou was the author of 30 books, including her most popular novel, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She was also credited with a list of plays and movies, and was Hollywood’s first female African-American director. She was one of the most honored writers of her generation. Some of her biggest awards included the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
Remember the Phenomenal Woman with the iconic Maya Angelou moments that will inspire you forever below.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
“I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.”
- Maya Angelou
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
- Maya Angelou
During her travels abroad, Angelou befriended Malcolm X when he visited Ghana in May 1964. The two wrote to each other frequently upon his return to the United States.
“My life has been one great big joke, a dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.”
– Maya Angelou
What are your favorite Maya Angelou moments? How has she influenced or inspired you? Share your favorite memories below.
Screw healthy water, owning a basketball team or even a tv network… 50 Cent, Jay Z and Diddy’s got nothing on the baller plane as Dr. Dre. Apparently, Apple is this close to buying up the Beats brand – which wold make Dr. Dre a BILLIONAIRE. Find out how much he could make off the acquisition below.
According to TMZ, Dr. Dre could be days away from being the first rapper turned BILLIONAIRE … thanks to a mega-deal for Apple to snatch up his Beats Electronics brand.
Apple will reportedly buy Beats for a whopping $3.2 BILLION — and since Dre and Interscope honcho Jimmy Iovine created the brand … it’s a safe bet they will walk away with a huge chunk of that cash.
Dre and Jimmy started the brand back in 2008 with headphones — but now they’re also making bank off speakers, car audio systems, and a streaming service.
The deal could close next week … and would be Apple’s biggest acquisition ever.
Dre came in #2 on Forbes’ most recent list of hip hop’s wealthiest artists — with a net worth of $550 million … while Diddy was #1 at $700 million.
It’s still unclear what Apple will do with Beats, but its focus seems to be on the company’s new music streaming service rather than its popular headphones and speakers. We may also see Beats Audio technology integrated into Macs and iOS devices in the same way that it has in HP laptops and smartphones from HTC.
Disclosure: As the author, I have been compensated to share experiences found throughout SXSW 2014 including unique AT&T SXSW activations in Austin however, all opinions are my own.
Every March, creatives of all stripes gather in Austin to witness, share and inspire the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and ideas of tomorrow. SXSW Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drives the entertainment and media landscape, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of “film” today, down to its very definition.
A nexus of discovery and collaborative energy, SXSW Film celebrates the art and business of the possible.Winding down my SXSW experience, I got the chance to check out a variety of film screenings and premiers in Austin. One of my favorite premieres had to be the family-friendly comedy… BAD WORDS.
Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut with the subversive comedy, BAD WORDS. Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year old who finds a loophole in the rules of the National Quill Spelling Bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders are no match for Guy, as he ruthlessly crushes their dreams of victory and fame. As a reporter attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand of ‘Homeland’), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life. The movie also stars Allison Janney, Kathryn Hahn and Phillip Baker Hall. Check out some behind the scenes moments as we talk to the stars about SXSW, BAD WORDS the film and more.
The 56th Grammy Awards featured tons of funny photobombs, fashion faux pas and electrifying performances. This year’s music fest also highlighted memorable moments that have been made immortal by memes, gifs and more for years to come. We’ve gathered the top GRAMMY Facebook and Twitter moments last night and have them below…
Facebook’s Top Moments
On Facebook, 6.3 million people lit the world’s largest social network with more than 13.5 million interactions related to the Grammys. A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Monday morning that these were the top five moments:
- Queen Latifah presiding over weddings while Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert and Madonna perform a mashup of “Same Love” and “Open Your Heart”
- Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performing “Radioactive” and “M.A.A.D City”
- Metallica and Lang Lang performing “One”
- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis winning Best New Artist
- Beyonce and Jay Z opening the show
Twitter’s Top Moments
Twitter users sent 15.2 million tweets during the East Coast broadcast, with Lorde, Beyonce and Taylor Swift being the most-mentioned artists.
Meanwhile, the mashup performance by Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons was the night’s biggest moment for tweets, clocking in at 171,593 tweets per minute at its peak. [Have you downloaded the single from iTunes yet?]
Lorde’s win for Best Pop Solo Performance and her performance of “Royals” rounded out the top three peak moments with 152,688 and 146,083 tweets per minute.
We know who had a memorable night – no matter what, right Taylor?