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Over Half A Million Attended The 2018 ESSENCE Festival Sponsored By Coca-Cola

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The 2018 ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola® attracted more than 510,0000 attendees to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend, marking one of the largest gatherings in the event’s 24-year history. For the first time ever, all three nights of the ESSENCE Festival concert series at the Louisiana Superdome sold out. The extraordinary turnout underscores ESSENCE’s engagement of Black women around community, culture and content – which was brought to life in innovative ways at the annual celebration.

“This extraordinary gathering of nearly half a million attendees–on the eve of the ESSENCE Festival’s 25th anniversary–speaks to the unmatched convening power of our culture,” said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications.  “As one of the country’s largest curated live experiences, the ESSENCE Festival engages Black women globally—through a truly unique celebration of culture, connection to community and access to content that inspires and empowers.”

The annual 4-day Festival, which took place July 5-8, features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and a state-of-the-art concert series with the world’s best performers each night to comprise a one-of-a-kind curated content experience:

  • Over 100 performing artists across the Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry including Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Miguel and others performed at the event’s nighttime concerts and dozens of others across ESSENCE’s Center Stage and 10th Anniversary All-Star Gospel Tribute honoring Dottie Peoples.
  • More than 100 influencers, leaders, creators and celebrities participated in the Festival’s daytime experience – rebranded as ‘Conference & Expos’ with programming across eight tracks spanning Beauty & Style to Business & Entrepreneurship. Powerhouse speakers included Lena Waithe, Lester Holt and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell as well as favorites Rev. Al Sharpton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Iyanla Vanzant, among others.
  • First-time, simultaneous live streams of the daytime experience on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; an ESSENCE Snapchat Live special and millions of #EssenceFest social media posts generating trending status on Twitter.
  • Expanded consumer Expos such as the ‘Beauty Carnival” and ‘Entertainment All-Access’ drew crowds of thousands each day to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Elevated VIP events and programs for attendees included the launch of the ‘ESSENCE House’ at the Ace Hotel, as well as the debut of the ‘E-Suite’ with exclusive access to career and business programming.
  • Community give-back and volunteerism at the Festival’s traditional ‘Day of Service’ focused on the theme “Adopt-a-Neighborhood – Central City” to encompass youth center beautification projects, as well as empowerment and entrepreneurship workshops for women & girls. ESSSENCE ‘Day of Service’ also presented the inaugural Excellence Awards honoring local change-agents in the community.

 

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Jordyn Woods says she will “Always have love for Kylie”

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Jordyn Woods is hesitant to come right out and say it, but the message is very clear … she’s still got love for Kylie Jenner.

Jordyn and her mom, Elizabeth, were at LAX Thursday when we asked Jordyn if the support she’s received from Jada Pinkett Smith and family helped her through her ordeal with the Kardashian-Jenner fam … she tells us it’s bigger than that. Much bigger.

It gets real interesting, though, when our guy asks if she hopes to rekindle her friendship with Kylie — she gives a rather broad answer … before Mom comes to the rescue.

Check it out for yourself … Jordyn eventually says she’ll “always” love her former BFF, but it takes some coaxing. Her mother’s much more direct.

Regardless, Jordyn’s fallout with Kylie has only made her more popular. Girl’s signing autographs and posing for pics everywhere she goes … even when it’s not a celebrity hot spot.

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IRS set to audit Lori Loughlin and her husband over college admissions scandal

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The hits just keep coming. Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, who are facing up to 40-year-prison sentences if found guilty of their alleged involvement in the nationwide college admissions scandal, will now be audited by the IRS.

According to the source, the twosome allegedly wrote off William “Rick” Singer’s reported scam services as a deduction. “They are being audited for five years on their personal income taxes, along with three years for Mossimo’s business,” the insider reveals.

Lori Loughlin and husband  Mossimo Giannulli

The When Calls the Heart actress, 54, and the fashion designer, 55, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering on Monday, April 15, after previously rejecting a plea deal that included a two-year minimum prison sentence.

“Her attorney told her not to take the deal,” a source said earlier this month about Loughlin’s decision.

Legal coach and crisis manager Wendy Feldman explained in April that the actress and designer had “no choice but to plead not guilty.”

“They missed the opportunity for a plea bargain during the first round, and now there might not be a deal available for them to take,” she said.

The actress previously seemed to be “in denial” about her situation, and recently started to accept her reality. “Lori is constantly arguing with Mossimo, because she is beginning to grasp that they are in very serious jeopardy,” the source also added, “She  has tried to hire new lawyers.”

The pair were indicted after allegedly paying Singer a bribe of $500,000 in order to have their two daughters, Bella, 20, and Olivia Jade, 19, represented as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, despite the fact

Lori Loughlin and daughter Olivia Jade

that neither girl participates in the sport, ensuring their entrance to the school.

Mossimo was arrested on March 12 along with actress Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to charges of fraud on April 8, while Loughlin was taken into custody on March 13. Both were released the same day of their arrests on $1 million bonds.

 

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Nipsey Hussle Family and Friends pay their respects at Private Viewing

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Nipsey Hussle‘s family and friends mourned the late rapper during a private viewing … one day ahead of the Staples Center celebration of his life with tens of thousands of fans.

Close loved ones packed the Angelus Funeral Home Wednesday afternoon on Crenshaw Blvd. Nipsey’s brother, Samiel Asghedom, was among the attendees at the super secret service. We’re told security was tight … several men had a checklist to make sure only invited guests — Nipsey’s inner circle — were allowed entry.

There were also armed guards standing outside the building where Thursday’s procession will end.

That procession will be preceded by Nipsey’s Celebration of Life, hosted at Staples Center for 21,000 fans, family and friends. As we reported … the free tickets were gobbled up within minutes and AXS, which handled ticket distribution, says it’s cracking down on scalpers. 

The event will be heavily guarded … with help from LAPD, members of the Nation of Islam as well as Staples Center personnel.

Meanwhile, tons of fans have continued paying tribute outside Nipsey’s Marathon Clothing store … leaving candles, flowers and messages in the parking lot.

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