Why the 2014 ESSENCE Festival Was One for the Books

It wasn't dubbed the "Superbowl of marketing to Black women" for nothing. Check out the sponsor activations, celebrities and ESSENCE Festival fans that made our 20th anniversary celebration a record-breaking event.

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 04, 2014

1 of 31

The iconic Coca-Cola crooner hit the Superdome’s Main Stage and reminded the audience about how he got his start.

2 of 31

The line for the Share a Coke machine, where festival attendees were able to personalize Coca-Cola cans with their names, was wrapped around the Convention Center.

3 of 31

Festival attendees took part in Coca-Cola’s singing contest, judged by Doug E. Fresh. The contestant with the best voice got to sing live in front of an audience of thousands at the Superdome!

4 of 31

Celebrate every moment! Coca Cola kept the Festival's 20th anniversary celebration going with consumers showcasing their best dance moves in the booth.

5 of 31

The melodic vocals of R&B songstress Kelly Price kept the audience rocking in the Coca-Cola Superlounge.

6 of 31

Lyricist Common gave Festival attendees an intimate look into his upcoming project at the SIRIUS XM live radio remote from the Ford booth.

7 of 31

Attendees signed up to “Go Further” during Festival weekend at the Ford Ride and Drive featuring a full line-up of latest vehicles on the market, including the Ford Fusion.

8 of 31

The stars aligned to celebrate community and entertainment as the McDonald’s 365Black Awards, hosted by Terrance Jenkins and Tika Sumpter, returned to the Festival .

9 of 31

“Fall in Love” recording artist Keke Wyatt met fans and signed autographs in the McDonalds booth after her McCafe Concert Series performance, held on the ESSENCE Center Stage.

10 of 31

Latoya Luckett joined Ronald on the Superdome Mainstage to promote McDonald’s weekend activities which included delicious samples, pre-loaded arch cards, the McCafe’ concert series, and the infamous McDonald’s swag bag.

11 of 31

R&B sensation Ledisi dropped by the Walmart booth to talk with host Tai Beauchamp about her new album, The Truth .

12 of 31

Attendees got an inside look at “What Success Looks Like at Walmart” during a panel discussion hosted by Reverend Al Sharpton that highlighed Walmart’s African-American officers and the importance of diversity in the corporate workplace.

13 of 31

Walmart educated attendees on its financial services programs at the Empower U Money and Power Zone and offered festival goers fun opportunities to win prizes on the spot.

14 of 31

R&B quartet Jagged Edge shared exclusive details on their forthcoming album and promoted their upcoming performance in the Verizon Superlounge.

15 of 31

Consumers engaged in some retail therapy at the Verizon Pop-Up store, where they tested out an array new wireless devices and accessories.

16 of 31

Verizon executive Tony Lewis and actress extraordinaire Regina Hall gave attendees the chance to text to win a Samsung Galaxy S5 live from the Superdome Main Stage.

17 of 31

My Black Is Beautiful ambassadors delivered on-the-spot makeovers and consultations to the Festival’s beauty enthusiasts.

18 of 31

My Black Is Beautiful celebrated a weekend of #IWantThatHair looks with Festival goers at the Convention Center.

19 of 31

My Black Is Beautiful introduced the Superdome audience to their new brand ambassadors, who auditioned for the role through a multi-city search during the Road To ESSENCE Festival.

20 of 31

A better state of style was just a swipe away when consumers tried their luck at winning chic fashion accessories at the State Farm booth. 

21 of 31

Television and film star Lance Gross posed for a picture perfect shot with a delighted fan at the State Farm booth.

22 of 31

Actress Taraji P. Henson helped one attendee get to a better state of style with a surprise pair of designer shoes!

23 of 31

Saluting Rev. Al! Attendees posted special thank you notes on this wall, thanking Reverend Al Sharpton for his 20 years of support of the ESSENCE Festival and the community. 

24 of 31

Messages from ESSENCE Festival goers made MSNBC’s Growing Hope Greenhouse bloom with issues that are important to our community.

25 of 31

A young fan has a special moment with MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid at the MSNBC booth.

26 of 31

ESSENCE mixed it up this year with its first ever All White Day Party featuring a Pop of Color by COVERGIRL.

27 of 31

NewCorp’s Executive Director and President Vaughn Farrier was joined by McDonald’s Owner/Operator Frances Jones and ESSENCE Deputy Managing Editor Dawnie Walton for a Coca-Cola’s Empower U panel about real women entrepreneurs.

28 of 31

Job seekers found their next opportunity at the Verizon recruitment booth in the Career Connections Zone, powered by the National Urban League.

29 of 31

NBA Legends George Gervin, Artis Gilmore and Michael Ray Richardson discuss healthy living options on and off the court during an empowering panel sponsored by Walmart for Family Day in Woldenberg Park.  

30 of 31

In the ESSENCE Screening Room, actor and comedian Anthony Anderson gave Festival attendees a sneak peek at black-ish, his new American family comedy series slated to debut on ABC this Fall.

31 of 31

Lifetime Network fired up Center Stage with a hot performance from The Dancing Dolls, including Coach Miss D from Bring It!