Disclaimer: I have partnered with Ford Motor Company and have been compensated to share my Ford Fusion and Essence Festival experience. All opinions are my own.
The 2016 Essence Festival has come to a close in New Orleans, ushering with it a vibrant trail of excitement to rival festivals of years past. There was no shortage of amazing performances, celebrity sightings and more. From Oprah, TD Jakes, Puff Daddy, Maxwell, Kenny Lattimore, the cast of “Power” and more – the Big Easy was filled with big fun all weekend long. Fueled by Ford Motor Company, this year makes my fifth Essence Festival Experience and like a fine wine, it only gets better with time.
Kenny Lattimore serenades the Ford fans during Sirius XM interview with Heart & Soul.
In celebration of and pushing entrepreneurs to “Go Further” in business and finances, Ford hosted panel discussions featuring need to know tips from new media trailblazers. I partnered with Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista to tackle the conversation of “Financial Preparedness” and getting your money right for business and beyond.
Christen of DivasandDorks, Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista and Comedienne Loni Love.
Moderated by Loni Love (The Real), we discussed tips on how to budget for the entrepreneurial leap and the importance of owning your credit blueprint. The forum was not only insightful and informative for guests, I learned applicable tips first hand from The Budgetnista and even shared super easy hacks to jumpstart and automate your money saving dreams starting today. (#AutoMakeThatMoney – more details coming soon.)
Ford Family Fun
For most, Essence Festival is an annual family reunion and the Ford experience is the epicenter of games, giveaways and family fun. It’s a great place for celebrity sightings and entertainment. Ford fans got a special surprise when renown relationship life coach and Ford Spokesperson Tony Gaskins explored the latest Ford vehicles on display. He posed for selfies and answered questions from fans and even checked out the all new 2017 Ford Fusion display. (Are you unstoppable? Check out an interview with Tony Gaskins here.)
Relationship expert Tony Gaskins poses with fans at Ford Essence Festival experience.
My Ford family kept the family reunion fun kept it moving all weekend long. Whether you’re running into old friends from high school or hometowns or getting reacquainted with new friends, the Ford booth was the epicenter and the Essence Festival experience. It was the perfect spot to reconviene after performances or meeting point to gather before heading out for New Orleans fun. Personally, it was a great chance for me to catch up with my dad and show him what this year’s Ford/Essence Festival partnership entailed. (Plus reconnecting in a city that defines our family name is always a huge WIN). Of course, it was only right that we chronicled the moment with plenty of selfies and entered for a chance to win cool prizes like Fitbit fitness trackers, HD cameras and more. (Did I forget to mention that I won this cool HD sticky cam?)
One of the many things I appreciate about Ford is that they fuse a variety of experiences that empower guests of all ages and backgrounds at Essence Fest. From entrepreneurs to retirees and everyone in between aren’t only entertained, but they’re empowered with tools that can impact their families, communities, businesses and more. In addition to Ford’s Warriors in Pink initiative raising money and awareness for cancer research, Ford awarded lucky Essence Fest fans a chance to win the all new 2017 Ford Fusion!
From celebrity guests to community empowerment, Ford is committed to representing for Essence Fest fans and once again I’m proud to be apart of this unforgettable experience. Did you check out Ford at this year’s Essence Festival? What did you think? Share your comments or tweets us at @DivasandDorks using the hashtag #MyFordFam
Want to learn more about my spectacular drive in the 2017 Ford Fusion? Discover what drives the festival fun on the Road To Essence Fest! Looking for pricing? Or details on how to schedule a 2017 Ford Fusion test drive of your own? Discover the all new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium edition online at Ford.com and get social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today!
During my recent 10-day stay in New Orleans for the 21st Annual Essence Festival – I got the chance to explore the city, culture, celebrities, home-grown entertainment and so much more! From new restaurants to hidden gem boutiques, New Orleans offered so much more than I’ve ever expected it to, even after visiting NOLA for the last five years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the street style, gourmet delicacies and amazing architecture found around every corner.
If I had to narrow my summer style obsession down to one piece, it would definitely have to be the jumpsuit. It’s super-easy to wear, stylish and can practically be worn everywhere. Since I’m a tall girl, it’s sometimes challenging to find stylish jumpsuits that look good, feel good and fit good too! After searching all over, you can’t imagine where I’ve found my favorite jumpsuits, including this blue cutout number below…
After searching online and in stores, I finally found this beautifully fitting jumper from H&M. Offering just the right amount of style and sass, this jumpsuit is lined with small waist length cutouts and a sleek back zipper that can be office appropriate with a cardigan or street-chic appropriate worn as shown.
Blue Jumpsuit | HM.com | $59.99
Ford hosted a wonderful media dinner during ESSENCE Fest at Little Gem Saloon. The Little Gem Saloon is a historic restaurant and live music venue that dates back to 1904. The Little Gem Saloon offers a new century twist on a historic space that first introduced New Orleans’ jazz to the world. Located in the historic 400 block of South Rampart Street, the Little Gem Saloon is just steps the French Quarter and all the authentic and historic sights that New Orleans has to offer.
Perfect for foodies of all ages, The Little Gem Saloon offers a dining experience unlike any other in New Orleans. The Little Gem Saloon offers lunch, dinner and a true-to-its-roots Sunday jazz brunch, upstairs and downstairs bars with outside balcony seating, and live entertainment five days a week. During the Ford media dinner, guests indulged in southern soul food while mingling and enjoying the cool sounds of songstress Audra Day.
Smoked St. Louis cut ribs with a creole twist was #DivasAndForksAPPROVED
No NOLA meal is complete without Louisiana Gulf shrimp & southern style biscuits
New Orleans Moments
The media dinner, hosted by Ford’s Manager of Multicultural Marketing, Shawn Thompson introduced guests to singing sensation Audra Day – pairing awesome music food and entertainment all in one exciting night.
Photo credit: Chris Mitchell/Ty Alexander
I truly enjoyed celebrating Ford’s commitment to educating and empowering NOLA communities via breast cancer awareness and more at ESSENCE Festival. Check out how Ford continues to celebrate Essence Festival fans this year as the official automotive sponsor of the 21st Annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans here.
In today’s society, there’s no shortage of women who seek validation though beauty trends and societal standards. Tara Paige, the “Inner Glamorcist,” and author of “The Book Of G.L.A.M” wants to fix that. Kicking off Essence Fest weekend, Tara teamed up with Digital Sorority to host a FREE GLAM lounge in New Orleans. As an author, Tara is committed to empowering her readers to focus on the inner as well as outer glam. With the help of Kela, Ty and I – The G.L.A.M. Lounge is kicked off the 21st Annual Essence Festival experience, Thursday July 2nd at Magnolia Makeup Studios.
Author Tara Page and Digital Sorority at The G.L.A.M Lounge experience in New Orleans.
Tara’s new book has her traveling the world empowering women and teaching 4 Requirements of Your G.L.A.M. SQUAD!
G-Give constructive criticism. You cannot have a team of people who only tell you what you want to hear. They have to tell you the hard stuff. Those weaknesses and blindspots that we don’t like to see in ourselves.
L-Like you. Yes. There is a difference. Your family pretty much loves you. But your glam squad has to be made up of people who not only love you…they LIKE you. They want to be around you. Your bad off day does not stop them from being in your life. They are rooting for you to be the best you can be.
Guests enjoyed makeovers, custom color applications, freebies and more!
A-Articulate your strengths, not just your weaknesses. You need people who can spot your strengths, your stellar traits that you don’t see in yourself and root for you as you play to your strengths.
M-Move you into action. They will not allow you to play small. They will not allow you to dim your light They will be there to pick you up when you are knocked down. They will move you into being your best and greatest self.
Check out Tara L. Page via her latest tv news segment here.
Tara Paige isn’t just an author of this insightful knowledge, she’s also a student as well. Once a single & depressed mom of five, she’s now happily married with 8 children and travels the world empowering and enriching the lives of women by asking one simple question. WHO’S ON YOUR G.L.A.M. Squad?
I can definitely shout to the world that the ladies of Digital Sorority (Kela and Ty) are apart of my G.L.A.M squad. They keep me sane, encourage me and support me unlike any other team a girl could ever imagine. So who’s in your G.L.A.M squad?
For more information about the author Tara L. Page and the new G.L.A.M movement, visit FixYourGlam.com today.
Got a little time to relive the Beyonce Bowl (aka Pepsi’s Super Bowl) halftime show with Beyonce? If you can’t stop dancing in your seats and want to relive the Beyonce Bowl featuring ‘Love on Top’, ‘Crazy in Love’, ‘Baby Boy’, ‘End of Time’, ‘Single Ladies’, and a soul-stirring performance of ‘Halo’ then here you go!
Oh and did I forget to mention the highly anticipated Beyonce Bowl / Destiny’s Child reunion, that’s right Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams hopped on stage to perform their classic hit ‘Bootylicious’ Independent Women’ and more.
You can view it in it’s entirety below.
After that performance it’s quite clear that the real winner of the Super Bowl is Beyonce… that’s why it’s been renamed the Beyonce Bowl!
What do you think of her performance? (We predicted many of the performances but hoped she would’ve brought out a little more star power.) Are you anticipating her next world tour anytime soon?
photos via Getty Images…
The biggest, grandest, most-watched single event in American sports is coming to New Orleans on February 3, 2013. We have an inside look on how to not only enjoy the game, but how to actually get involved with the charming city of New Orleans! Don’t just watch the game… if you’re in New Orleans, be a part of the game!
Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard
Free to the public, Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard will open on Thursday, January 31st and run daily until Super Bowl Sunday, February 3rd. Complementing the public entertainment, broadcast, and celebratory offerings on Super Bowl Blvd., fans of all ages will have opportunities to interact with numerous NFL and Host Committee partner events. The main attraction, the larger-than life XLVII roman numerals, standing at 30 feet high and over 100 feet wide, stand for everyone to take pictures that will last a lifetime. Celebrate New Orleans’ Perfect 10th Super Bowl with a true New Orleans-style festival! Make sure to grab a bowl of N’Awlins Gumbo, Jumbalya, Beignets, and Bread Pudding as you stroll down Super Bowl Boulevard.
Rebuilding Together’s 18th Annual Super Bowl Sanctioned Event – Kickoff to Rebuild 2013: New Orleans
The NFL Experience
(Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center)
On the eve of Super Bowl XLVII, the Super Bowl Host Committee will hold its premier community initiative, Super Saturday of Service. The program will showcase collaboration between the Host Committee, NFL, City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), Young Leadership Council (YLC), the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals (ULGNOYP), and the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity that provides improvements to five NORDC playgrounds and their surrounding neighborhoods.
The NFL Foundation annually provides a $1 million matching grant to each Host City, typically to be used to fund the development of its Youth Education Towns (YET Centers). Having a direct impact on the local community is a major focus of the NFL. Since the NFL provided a YET Center for New Orleans for Super Bowl XXXVI, the NFL agreed to creating a new initiative for Super Bowl XLVII. After several months of planning and collaboration with the City of New Orleans, NORDC, and the NORD Foundation, the Super Saturday of Service was developed.
The Super Saturday of Service will result in the renovation and beautification of five NORDC playgrounds and facilities, along with improvements on the NFL YET. Funds from the City of New Orleans, the NORD Foundation, and NFL Charities will be used to complete major capital improvement projects at the Lyons Center, Hunter’s Field, Kingswood Playground, Harrell Stadium and Pontchartrain Park prior to Super Bowl XLVII.
Super Bowl Fan Jam
(February 2, 2013)
Super Bowl Fan Jam is a free concert series that will feature some of today’s hottest performing and recording artists. In years past performers have included such megastars as Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Gym Class Heroes, Steven Tyler and many others. Check local listings and the NFL Experience website to see who’s coming to rock the Big Easy and which stage they will be performing.
New Orleans has such a rich culture and is truly a great place to visit! Being from New Orleans, I know that you have to be a part of the city to get the full experience! In addition to the great food, music, and culture, take advantage of the above once in a lifetime events and opportunities! Don’t just watch the game, but actually make your mark in the city. Let it be known that you were here!
Missing all the fun, excitement, music & entertainment of Essence Music Festival? Don’t worry. Escape To New Orleans episode 2 is here! Recently, I got the chance to explore the city, alongside Nate from WorldWideNate.com to get a bona fide experience of what New Orleans, Louisiana truly has to offer. Thanks to the Ford Escape – I got the chance to escape to New Orleans and experience the rich history, delicious food & a certain je ne sais quoi – that’s authentic, only in New Orleans. From the Pralene Connection to the French Market and the haute nightlift of Frenchmen street – Check out the second of four webisodes airing on Essence.com this week – below.
As apart of my Essence Music Festival experience in New Orleans this past weekend, I got the opportunity to celebrate phenomenal, everyday heroes at the McDonald’s® 365Black® Awards. Entertainers, professional athletes, political figures and hundreds of citizens from across the nation packed the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans Friday for the 2012 McDonald’s 365Black Awards, an annual event honoring outstanding African-Americans who are making positive contributions to the community. Hundreds of guests attended the ninth annual ceremony honoring multi-platinum and 10-time GRAMMY® winning recording artist Chaka Khan; global humanitarian, best-selling inspirational author/entrepreneur Bishop T.D. Jakes; GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Tamia and husband, All-Star NBA® player, Grant Hill; teenage medical innovator Tony Hansberry, II; youth empowerment activist Mary-Pat Hector; and McDonald’s owner/operators, Tina and Harold Lewis.
“Helping others and giving back are critical components to making our community stronger, and it was moving to witness the number of celebrities and community members who supported the event,” said Chaka Khan, founder of The Chaka Khan Foundation. “I am humbled I was chosen to receive the 365Black Award with such an amazing group of individuals who also embrace community service. I commend McDonald’s for their ongoing efforts to make community service a priority.”
Khan closed the ceremony with a surprise performance. Singer/songwriter Marsha Ambrosius, national television journalist Roland Martin, entertainment correspondent Janell Snowden and R&B singer Tank were among celebrities on-hand at the ceremony hosted by actor Laz Alonso. GRAMMY winning gospel star Fred Hammond, GRAMMY-nominated artists Melanie Fiona and Eric Benet, and hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh also performed to help pay tribute to the honorees. A great time was had by all!
Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell & DivasandDorks.com
If you’re looking for the genuine New Orleans experience, look no further. Recently, I got the chance to explore the city, alongside Nate from WorldWideNate.com to get a bona fide experience of what New Orleans, Louisiana truly has to offer. As a native (of sorts), my lineage has roots in the Crescent city, however my experience is limited as I’ve only been to New Orleans once before at the age of 9. Thanks to the Ford Escape – I got the chance to escape to New Orleans and experience the rich history, delicious food & a certain je ne sais quoi – that’s authentic, only in New Orleans. Check out the first of four webisodes airing on Essence.com this week – below.
Something Old, Something New, Something for the Spirit & For Your Do’! The ESSENCE Music Festival is the nation’s largest African American live musical and cultural experience. Every year over 400,000 people from around the world descend upon New Orleans for the only music festival that offers show-stopping performances from top entertainers, free inspiring andempowering conversations and messages from the world’s leading innovators, leaders, and thinkers, plus four days of family and cultural experiences: the ESSENCE Music Festival. This year, in its 18th year anniversary, the 2012 ESSENCE Musical Festival presents a newly expanded four day weekend celebrating the “Power of Our Voice” on July 5, 6, 7 and 8 with compelling programming featuring the biggest names in entertainment and the country’s most influential speakers, artists, authors and leaders. Check out a few of the hottest activities to experience this weekend while out with the girls in New Orleans!
Spectacular performances on the EMF stage never gets old, but you can always count on quality R&B acts gracing the stage and this year is no different. If the spectacular performances of Chaka Kahn, Trey Songz, Mary J. Blige and more aren’t enough maybe the return of the ultimate oldie but goodie – R&B crooner D’Angelo is just the old faithful & soulful sound you’re looking for. I’m looking forward to seeing his performance & if he has any tricks left up his sleeve after his soulful BET Awards performance on Sunday.
ESSENCE Festival will kick off the inaugural day, Thursday, July 5th, with a first ever Youth Empowerment Concert complete with a full day youth empowerment experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, culminating with the first ever youth empowerment concert on the New & Next stage that night at the Louisiana Superdome. The New & Next stage will showcase a a group of young musical tastemakers that totally have scream appeal! Among the group include Roshon Fegan, Kaitlyn Nichol, Coco Jones, Diggy Simmons, Atlanta’s OMG Girlz and New Orleans’ band The Roots of Music.
Sponsored by Verizon, Wal-mart and Captial One, tickets for the Next Stage are available at essencemusicfestival.com
FOR THE SPIRIT
Sunday (July 8th) will be a great day in New Orleans and a rousing finale to the weekend with award winning journalist, author and “NY1 News” anchor Cheryl Wills hosting the festivities as ESSENCE presents a day of praise and worship during an “All-Star Gospel Salute to Mary Mary and Fred Hammond” with Yolanda Adams, Kim Burrell, Tramaine Hawkins, Pastor Marvin Winans, Byron Cage, Israel Houghton and more.
FOR YOUR DO’!
Be prepared for a lot of weave patting & natural do scratching – but no worries, EMF has you covered to keep that do right & tight! From the Motions Style Suite featuring Rihanna’s stylist Ursela Stephens to the Essence Music Festival’s title sponsor My Black is Beautiful. Stop by the My Black is Beautiful booth and experience all that Procter & Gamble is bringing to this year’s festivities, including surprise guests, giveaways and access to notable beauty experts.
See you in New Orleans!
Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to explore the great, resilient city of New Orleans, Louisiana with Essence Magazine. Throughout my week-long experience, we canvased the entire city in the 2013 Ford Escape in search for an authentic New Orleans experience! No matter if you’re headed to Essence Music Festival in July or you’ve experienced all the tourists attractions that you thought New Orleans has to offer, we got deep into New Orleans from the history, shopping, food & more – and trust me, you’ve never seen New Orleans like this before!
Next month, Essence.com will be airing weekly webisodes where my favorite guide Worldwide Nate & I share tips & tricks to enhance your escape to New Orleans. But you know I couldn’t wait to share my experience first hand! Check out a few of these behind-the-scene pics of our fun times in the Big Easy, you’ll never guess all the places we explored (but you can take a few guesses in the comments section below) & stay tuned for the official webisode release on Essence.com soon…