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.
Johnny Depp splits from girlfriend Polina Glen
Johnny Depp has reportedly split from his girlfriend Polina Glen.
Polina, 24, has ended her relationship with the 56-year-old Hollywood actor and fled back to her Russia after finding the attention surrounding her “scary”, according to friends.
The Pirates of the Caribbean who was previously married to actress Amber Heard and Lori Anne Allison and has children Lily-Rose and Jack, with ex-partner Vanessa Paradis began dating the Russian dancer Polina Glen earlier this year.
However the dancer has ended their relationship and returned to her homeland Russia after becoming overwhelmed by the attention their relationship received.
According to a source, Polina is now keeping her head down in Russia and told Johnny plans to get married were madness.” The source further added that Polina had no interest in Johnny’s stardom or connections. She rather made efforts to ‘keep her head down while living him’ and instead chose to focus on her dance job.
The 24-year-old beauty also felt the actor was too “distracted” by his ongoing legal battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard, whom he sued for defamation for her allegations of domestic abuse against him
MO’NIQUE SUES NETFLIX FOR DISCRIMINATION
Mo’Nique is finally taking her accusations against Netflix for discrimination to a court of law … she’s filed a lawsuit.
In the suit, the Oscar-winning actress and comedian accuses Netflix of race-based discrimination for how it negotiated a comedy special with her. She says Netflix offered Amy Schumer $11 million for an hour-long stand-up special (she eventually got $13 mil), but only offered Mo’Nique $500,000 for her stand-up special.
Mo’Nique never accepted their offer, and went on a public campaign … which included coming on “TMZ Live” and calling for a boycott against the company.
According to the suit, she claims Netflix has a severe lack of diversity, which contributes to their discriminatory practices. Specifically, she claims one Netflix exec. — the Chief Communications Officer — used the n-word in a meeting with 60 people in 2018. Mo’Nique was not present for that meeting.
She also claims Netflix allowed Kevin Spacey to use the n-word while on the set of “House of Cards” without any consequence. In the suit, she alleges Spacey complained to his personal security guards, “I don’t want [n-words] on my set anymore.” She’s not suing Spacey.
Mo’Nique also used a major pay gap on the Netflix hit, “The Crown,” to illustrate alleged discrimination. She says the actress who plays Queen Elizabeth II was paid $14k per episode less than the actor who played Prince Philip — and it only righted the wrong after there was a public outcry about it.
She’s suing Netflix for unspecified damages, and for an injunction forcing the company to change its discriminatory policies.
Beverly Hills Cop’ Sequel With Eddie Murphy Jumps to Netflix in Licensing Deal With Paramount
Netflix has acquired the rights to shoot a new sequel to “Beverly Hills Cop” from Paramount, with star Eddie Murphy and producer Jerry Bruckheimer attached, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish announced Thursday.
The original 1984 action-comedy film, starring Murphy as a quick-witted, trash-talking Detroit cop who investigates his friend’s murder in Beverly Hills, was a huge hit for the studio — and spawned sequels in 1987 and 1994. The three films grossed $736 million worldwide.
Paramount had been developing “Beverly Hills Cop 4” for years — but pulled the project from its release slate in 2016.
In recent years, the studio has made deals with Netflix for completed films, selling “Cloverfield: God Particle” to the streamer for an early 2018 release and offloading overseas rights to the Natalie Portman sci-fi film “Annihilation” after a 17-day U.S. theatrical window. But it’s an unusual move for a studio to license its own IP for an unfinished film.
In recent months, Paramount parent company Viacom has shown an increasing willingness to make revenue-generating deals on its library of content rather than hoard those rights for its own internal streaming services as rivals like Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia have done.
This week, Viacom’s Nickelodeon announced a multiyear output deal for films and TV series with Netflix. And last month, the company sold the exclusive streaming rights to Comedy Central’s “South Park” to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max in a deal worth at least $500 million.
The “Beverly Hills Cop” deal also comes as Netflix has helped to revive Murphy’s career with its new release “Dolemite Is My Name,” which has generated awards season chatter. The star is also shooting the sequel to another Paramount comedy hit, 1988’s “Coming to America,” that’s due for theatrical release next year.
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MO’NIQUE SUES NETFLIX FOR DISCRIMINATION