On the opening night of the 2019 Essence Festival, the sultry R&B duo widely known as Van Jess graced the stage and gave an intimate crowd a performance to remember. Held in the Hot Right Now SuperLounge, Ivana and Jessica Nwokike showcased an amazing amount of vocal range and stage presence.

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Playing the Festival for the very first time, the soul sisters of Nigerian descent possessed a sound reminiscent of R&B’s glory days during the early-to-mid 90s. Legendary groups of the time (SWV, En Vogue, TLC and Zhane) come to mind, but on the evening of July 5th, Van Jess established themselves as a collective with an identity they can call their own.

The musical sound from the time of the Festival’s inaugural year in 1995 remains until this day; and its influence is undeniable.

Audience participation in tow, the talented duo performed many of the breakout hits from their debut studio album, Silk Canvas. Tracks such as “Filters,” “Til’ Morning” and “Honey Wheat” showed Van Jess’ versatility, but the upbeat “Through Enough” was a clear crowd favorite.

The R&B starlets most certainly left their mark on city of New Orleans with their impressive Essence Festival debut!

For more of everything you missed at the 2019 Essence Festival, head back to ESSENCE.com.


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