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Kamala Harris, Serena Williams Highlight Essence Festival Day Three Events

Kamala Harris, Serena Williams Highlight Essence Festival Day Three Events

The 2024 Essence Festival of Culture continued its third day of inspiring events with notable appearances by Kamala Harris, Serena Williams, and other influential personalities.

In its 30th year, the festival showcased these prominent Black women leading discussions in politics, business, and community empowerment. Vice President Harris engaged in a “Chief-to-Chief” conversation with Essence’s Ventures President and CEO Caroline Wanga. During their discussion at the Global Black Economic Forum HQ, Harris urged attendees to “unleash their power” in any space they occupy, especially as the Presidential Election approaches.

Sponsored by Coca-Cola, The Essence Stage hosted a full day of panels and engagements featuring celebrity speakers. Serena Williams, at BeatyCon: Essence Edition, delved into her journey from tennis champion to beauty brand founder. Emayatzy Corinealdi and Morris Chestnut, stars of Hulu’s “Reasonable Doubt,” gave attendees an exclusive sneak peek of the show’s second season.

Moreover, Sonya Curry and Lucille O’Neal, mothers of NBA stars, joined Michelle L. Rice, president of TV One and CLEO TV, to discuss the importance of preparing Black children for success. Television producer Carlos King later offered insights into the entertainment industry, alongside New Orleans’ very own Big Freedia, Yandy Smith-Harris, and Toya Johnson-Rushing, in a lively discussion.

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Source: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 06: Serena Williams attends the 2024 ESSENCE Black Women in Business Dinner at the Four Seasons New Orleans on July 06, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

The evening of July 6 marked the inaugural Black Women in Business dinner, where Williams received the Investor of the Year award. This event marked the festival’s first-ever ‘Black Women In…’ series, acknowledging pioneers in various industries. Hosted by Rashida Jones, the ceremony also honored Thasunda Brown Duckett (CEO of the Year Award), Esi Eggleston Bracey (Transformer of the Year Award), and Laysha Ward (Community Investment Pioneer Award) for their impactful professional achievements.

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Source: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 06: Usher performs onstage during Day 2 of the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola at Caesars Superdome on July 06, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

On the musical front, 4batz and newly solo City Girl JT brought energy to the Essence GU kickback stage. However, Usher headlined the night with a special, one-night-only performance of his entire “Confessions” album. Charlie Wilson also made a triumphant return to the Essence Stage, marking his 8th performance at the event.

Additional highlights of the day included the Suede: Men’s experience, where Lance Gross and Terrance J discussed how their HBCU experiences shaped their acting careers. A nod to Black Hollywood brought together Meagan Good, Sanaa Lathan, and writer dream hampton to discuss the current state of the industry.

The inclusion of further panels dedicated to authors and entrepreneurs solidified the cultural legacy and impact of the Essence Festival’s third day, continuing its tradition of celebrated guests and engaging events.

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Source: Essence