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If There Were A Wakanda For Black-Owned Businesses, ESSENCE Festival Would Be It

When businesses are brought face-to-face with thousands of consumers from the very communities eager to support them, it's an exchange unlike any other.
There’s nothing quite like stepping into a space filled with the largest variety of Black-owned businesses from across the country and ESSENCE Festival is that space.
From apparel, to food, to art, to accessories, to creative services and nearly everything in between, ESSENCE Festival has played host to the largest gathering of Black-owned vendors in the country for over a decade. The unique exchange that occurs when businesses are brought face-to-face with thousands of consumers from the very communities eager to support them the most is unlike any other.


For consumers,  finding a way to support a plethora of Black-owned businesses all at once can often present a challenge. In addition to the bringing you the country’s biggest celebration of Black culture for 25 years, the Festival Marketplace also serves as a hub for the ultimate shopping experience brought to you by talented vendors from across Louisiana and around the country. The extraordinary atmosphere gives Festival-goers a chance to not only have products and services they love right at their fingertips, but also to engage with the masterminds behind the businesses and hear the inspiring stories behind their journeys as hard-working entrepreneurs in communities of color throughout the country.
Our ESSENCE Eats destination provides a one-of-a-kind experience for both consumers and vendors, as it merges authentic New Orleans cuisine with the southern home-cooking feel we all can’t quite get enough of. Food trucks, cooking demos, tasting stations and more provide vendors with more than few options for showcasing what they bring to the table in the most creative—and profitable—ways possible.  As a result, Festival attendees are treated to an immersive culinary experience that allows them to satisfy their taste buds and support new, rising and established Black-owned food vendors at the same time. Outside of the marketplace and ESSENCE Eats, the Festival team has also been intentional about providing opportunities for Black creatives and service-based entrepreneurs in the beauty, fashion, event production, photography, journalism and catering spaces to be a part of making the magic happen each year.

In 2018, the Festival made a massive $280 million impact on the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana as a whole, and welcomed over 150 Black-owned businesses to interact with over half a million attendees throughout the weekend. Next year, we’ll be celebrating 25 years of ESSENCE Fest and doing it even bigger, with more opportunities for businesses, more experiences for attendees and more ways for our us all to come together to contribute to our culture’s collective goal of widespread economic empowerment within our communities for generations to come. To stay updated on the latest information about how you can become a part of it all, click HERE.