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Just because it’s a virtual experience this year doesn’t mean the artists hitting the stage at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola aren’t still bringing the same flavor to their performances.

Be sure to tune in for week 2 beginning Friday, July 2 at 10:00PM EST on ESSENCEStudios.com.

First up was Raiche, who kicked off her performance at week 1 of the Festival’s ESSENCE After Dark stage with a sultry take on her single, “Funeral.” She later transitioned into “Drive,” before moving into a melodic performance and outfit change for “Simple.” The 25-year-old starlet closed out her set with her latest single, “Pick A Side.” Tune into the video below to watch Raiche’s full performance.

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Up next was Mumu Fresh, who performed her single “North Star” with a special feature from D Smoke. The song opened up with a disclaimer about a sailor by the name of Peg Leg Joe. According to the tale disclosed in the introduction, the sailor would travel from plantation to plantation to teach slaves a song that embedded instructions to freedom by following the Big Dipper. If you followed the North Star, that would lead you up North to a freer nation.

Executive produced by the Grammy®–nominated singer, songwriter and rapper herself, the video follows a Black family in a pre-Civil War dated period. The groundbreaking visual connects the dots between the Black experience then versus being Black in America now, using the metaphor of a “north star” as a spiritual guiding through unprecedented times. For Mumu Fresh’s full performance, check out the video below.

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Performing hits from her sophomore album Coping Mechanisms, Tayla Parx brought all the vocal rangers and vibes to close out week 1 of the ESSENCE After Dark experience, accompanied by two colorful background dancers. Kicking off her sett with “System” and a psychedelic funk dance break with live instrumentation, Parx understood the assignment from beginning to end. Her performance also included her hit single “Fixerupper,” party anthem “Bricks,” and a special acoustic version of “Dance Alone, which came out earlier this year. Check out the full performance above.

For more of everything you missed at week 1 of the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture After Dark experience, click HERE. Be sure to tune in to our week 2 performances beginning Friday, July 2 at 10:00PM EST on ESSENCEStudios.com.

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