If you've been to ESSENCE Festival the past couple of years then you are very familiar with our Mainstage Host Nephew Tommy. This year will mark his fifth year as our comedic entertainment and we are happy to have him back. At this point, he's an expert with an all-access view on everything festival and New Orleans, so we had to get him in the hot seat to give us the low down on all things going down 4th of July weekend.
For first-timers, what are some things you would say they HAVE to do during the Essence Fest weekend?
Walk down Bourbon Street at night. Trust me, you'll see some people that'll make you wonder what planet are you on right now. Eat some grilled oysters. So good they'll make you wanna slap yo' momma. Drink you a hurricane. After you're done, you'll feel like your momma done slapped you. At the Convention Center go see the largest Wobble Dance line in the world. It is truly bootylicious. Get in there! Yeah! Yeah!
What's your favorite thing about New Orleans?
The food and the women. Yes, lawd. Do I need to say it again?
Who have been some of your favorite Mainstage performers since you've been the host and why?
There have been some amazing performers featured on the Essence Mainstage since I've been hosting, but hands down, it's Charlie Wilson who has been bringing it consistently every year! I've never seen anybody rock the Superdome like Charlie. He is truly a living legend. And it's my hope that one of these years Charlie will let me put on one of those sparkling uniforms his entourage wears and allow me to dance/step onto the stage with him. But first I'd have to take my vitamins--a whole lot of vitamins--to keep up with his energy!
Who are you looking forward to seeing the most at the 20-year anniversary?
I'm most looking forward to seeing Prince this year. Why? His concert was the very first one I ever attended. I was in high school and I took this girl. That was back in the day when Prince rode a purple motorcycle. I still have that poster on the wall in the bedroom at my momma's house. Funny, I don't remember the name of the girl I took, but I remember every detail of that concert, even down to Prince's curly hair. Later I tried to grow mine out like that. It didn't work out so well.
With this being your fifth year as host, will you approach the task any differently this year?
New jokes. Some new dance moves. (I've been working out. Prince ain't gonna be the only slim one on that stage.) But mainly I'll maintain and continue to enjoy the relationship I've created with the Essence Fest fans and do my best to help every single sponsor deliver their important messages and great products to the best and most exciting audience on the planet.
Can you imagine a Nephew Tommy versus Charlie Wilson versus Prince dance-off? You just never know what can happen on the Mainstage this year. Get your tickets here.