After a two year hiatus, the Essence Festival of Culture 2022 was definitely worth the wait. The 4 day festival kicked off its events with comedian Kevin Hart at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night but, as we all know, the events did not end there. Representing the theme of "It's the Black Joy for Me," this year's festival was jam-packed with events from brunches, to seminars, to a plethora of day parties and so much more. With all of the Essence Fest happenings around the city, the main attraction remains to be the concerts that happen each night at the Caesars Superdome. There was an amazing variety of artists this year, not to mention the large amount of surprise special guests that hit the Superdome stage.
While the line up was already dynamic, artists like R&B sensation Ashanti and Hip-Hop legend Nas, both graced the audience with surprise performances. Other artists of the night included Kes The Band, Dream Doll (Super Lounge), and Wyclef Jean who brought out the Legendary Lauryn Hill to perform their Fugees classics. While it seemed as if the night couldn't get any better, it did when Nicki Minaj hit the stage as she closed the show bringing out New Orleans' own Birdman and Lil Wayne.
Saturday night was likely the most epic of them all. After her memorable performance at Essence Fest 2018, Ms. Janet Jackson was back in the Dome to perform in front of a full house. Her show was nothing less than exceptional as she showed that she still has the moves and the voice that we all have loved for decades. While Janet closed the show, Ms. Patti Labelle also gave a sensational performance bringing out other legends like actress and performer Debbie Allen and more. At 78 years old, Patti didn't miss a beat as she rocked the house with her amazing voice. Prior to both legends hitting the stage, there were a number of amazing acts. Mostly for the R&B lovers, Saturday night included performances by Lucky Daye, Chloe & Halle, Summer Walker, Jasmine Sullivan and the famous DJ D-Nice who brought some special friends with him, including Carl Thomas, Stephanie Mills, Dru Hill and El Debarge.
Sunday was yet another remarkable night at the Superdome. The show opened with Hip-hop sensation the City Girls, but it was the legendary Roots who surprised us with more amazing special guests. East Coast Hip-hop fans got a night to remember as The Roots brought out Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah to perform some Wu-Tang Clan hits. They also brought out Ashanti, and The Lox including Jadakiss, Styles P and Lil Kim who performed their hit classic, "Money, Power, Respect". The night was completed with the soulful sounds of the Isley Brothers who are beyond legendary status. Finally the night closed with all six members of New Edition who kept the stands packed with singing and dancing fans who not only knew all the lyrics to their songs, but also all of the famous dance moves.
With all nights completed, this year's Essence Festival of Culture was worth the wait and the city is so excited to have it back and bigger than ever. Until next year…