Carla Ferrell of The Steve Harvey Morning Show will host the ESSENCE Festival’s very first Family Reunion Day in New Orleans on Thursday, July 4th. Families are invited to come to Woldenberg Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST to experience a free, fun-filled day of cooking demonstrations, prizes, a children’s petting zoo, games and a fireworks display. Carla will host the event alongside DJ Mike Swift, and Biz Markie, the Brass-A-Holics, CUPID, Doug E. Fresh, Gina Brown, Tweet and Stooges Brass Band will also perform.
Carla, who is the syndicated program director and co-host of The Steve Harvey Morning Show, recently spoke with ESSENCE.com about her excitement to host Family Reunion Day, being grateful for her own family, and her love of New Orleans.
ESSENCE.com: You're co-hosting Family Reunion Day with DJ Mike Swift. What does family mean to you?
Carla Ferrell: Family means so much to me. My mom and grandmother are deceased and I was very close to them. Now, my husband and five-year-old daughter are my family. We hear so much negativity about Black love and marriages, and we don’t hear enough when it’s good. My husband is my rock. He supports me.
Being with family and taking time for fun activities is so important. You can work, work, work, and if you don’t enjoy your success with family, it’s all for nothing. Family is a top priority for me.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve attended the ESSENCE Festival many times. What makes it so special in your view?
Ferrell: If you have not been to the ESSENCE Festival, you have not lived. Who doesn’t want to see Beyoncé, Maxwell, Jill Scott and all the artists performing in the superlounges? I appreciate the art of music and what artists give when they get on stage. If you’re a huge music fan, this is the place to be.
Also, during the day, there are seminars to make Festival-goers aware of what’s happening in their community. The goal is to not just talk about issues, but to try to develop solutions. After the Festival, you’ll go home and think about what Steve Harvey said about relationships or what Dr. Steve Perry thinks about making a difference in your child’s life in terms of education. You really miss out on an experience if you don’t attend the ESSENCE Festival.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve worked at a few New Orleans radio stations before joining The Steve Harvey Morning Show. What do you love about New Orleans?
Ferrell: Both my mother and grandmother were born in New Orleans. It’s one of the best cities in the country. New Orleans is all about family, celebrating life, good food, good music, and making good memories. Not to mention you add that sexiness to it. It’s romantic. I also have a thing about cities on the water.
ESSENCE.com: The Festival’s Empowerment Experience seminars tackle serious issues that impact our community. One issue is health, so share about your work surrounding breast cancer awareness.
Ferrell: I am a tireless breast cancer activist. I lost my mom to breast cancer in 2004 and it was devastating for me. Since then, I made it a point to share my story. You know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but there are 11 more months in the year. My job is to remind women of color—since we have a higher mortality rate—to go to the doctor, do self-examinations and get their mammograms every single year.
Be one of the first families to register for Family Reunion Day and learn how to win the official ESSENCE Festival “Family Reunion Day” T-Shirt!