Essence Festival is the homecoming of Black Girl Magic, where Black women are free to express themselves freely, kiki with strangers who feel like family and celebrate the power of sisterhood. “It’s important to know that you’re fly, you’re beautiful, you’re exactly who you need to be,” says Melissa Mitchell, artist, and fashionista.

This year, Ford united Mitchell and four inspiring Black women artists and entrepreneurs—Sydney James, Kellee Edwards, Shantell Martin, and Melissa Butler—to discuss what it means to live loud and proud.

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