Essence Festival, Kamara Harris

Essence Festival Hosts Kamala Harris, Serena Williams, and More In its Third Day Festivities

The Black women-focused festival kicked off July 4 in New Orleans.

The 2024 Essence Festival of Culture continues its third day of inspiring events with Kamala Harris, Serena Williams, and more.

In its 30th year, the festival highlighted these influential Black women as they led conversations in politics, business, and the overall empowerment of their communities. Vice President Harris engaged in a “Chief-to-Chief” conversation with Essence’s Ventures President and CEO Caroline Wanga. During their discussion at Global Black Economic Forum HQ, Harris encouraged attendees to “unleash their power” in any space they occupy, especially as the presidential election nears.

Presented by Coca-Cola, The Essence Stage hosted a full day of panels and engagements with celebrity speakers. Williams spoke at BeatyCon: Essence Edition to discuss her entrepreneurial journey from tennis champion to beauty brand founder. Emayatzy Corinealdi and Morris Chestnut, stars of Hulu’s “Reasonable Doubt,” shared a sneak peek of the show’s second season at the festivities.

Moreover, the mothers of the NBA, Sonya Curry and Lucille O’Neal, joined Michelle L. Rice, president of TV One and CLEO TV, in a conversation on preparing Black children for greatness. Television producer Carlos King later spilled the reali(tea) on entertainment. He joined New Orleans’ very own Big Freedia, Yandy Smith-Harris, and Toya Johnson-Rushing in the fun-filled talk.

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)

On the evening of July 6, the inaugural Black Women in Business dinner honored Williams with the Investor of the Year award. This year sparked Essence’s first-ever ‘Black Women In…” event, recognizing these trailblazers in diverse industries. Hosted by Rashida Jones, the occasion 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 professional contributions across sectors.

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 music side, 4batz and newly solo City Girl JT rocked the stage at the Essence GU kickback. However, headliner Usher topped the night off with a special, one-night-only performance of his entire “Confessions” album. Charlie Wilson also returned to the Essence Stage for his eighth time performing at the decorated event.

More of the day’s events included the Suede: Men’s experience. At the panel, Lance Gross and Terrence J saluted their HBCU experiences and their impact on their acting careers. A further nod to Black Hollywood brought Meagan Good, Sanaa Lathan, and writer dream hampton to discuss the current industry.

With the inclusion of additional panels for authors and entrepreneurs, Essence Festival’s Day 3 further solidified its cultural legacy and impact, continuing its jam-packed line-up of honored guests.

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