The stars came out in a big way for the Essence Festival of Culture this year. After two years where the event was held virtually, the Essence Festival returned to New Orleans as an in-person celebration of Black culture across all spheres. The four-day festival ran from June 30-July 3, and was a joyful celebration featuring musical performances, talks with public figures like Vice President Kamala Harrisand Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and appearances from stars like Ashanti, Issa Rae, Lauryn Hill, and Nicki Minaj.
From a mini Fugees reunion to an in-depth interview with Harris, the Essence Festival served up plenty of unforgettable moments. Among them was Harris answer to the question of what she would tell her past self if she could. “Surround yourself with a community of people — it doesn’t have to be a big group — who love you and who will cheer you on and who will sometimes push you out the door to go and do,” she said. “Those people who love you and you trust enough that when you fall down, they’ll be there to laugh with you because you fell, but to help pick you up and keep you going. So, choose — especially to the young leaders, I’d say, but to all of us have every generation — choose who is in your life based on loving yourself and requiring that from other people.”
It was powerful advice that spoke to the heart of the Essence Festival, and a sentiment that was echoed by the many celebrities and public figures in attendance. Check out the gallery to see all of the stars who joined in the celebration.