For her first-ever appearance at the ESSENCE Festival, Mariah Carey entered like the R&B-pop queen that she is on a white chaise lounge to the tune of “Shake It Off.” Carried by her male dancers, of course.
As the headlining act of Saturday night, MC—dressed in a white glittery gown befitting her supreme divahood—then brought out frequent collaborator Jermaine Dupri to rock her hit “It’s Like That.” Sounding in great voice, MC then took it further back with “Emotions,” hitting her trademark high notes to the delight of the crowd. And then she slowed it down for “My All,” giving the sultry ballad all she had.
Another surprise guest, Da Brat, joined Mariah—now in a pink cutout gown—for the So So Def remix of “Honey” that was sweet indeed.
She was later joined by the Voices of Unity choir for a rousing rendition of ”Make it Happen.” Three outfit changes and a 75-minute set that featured all the hits—we couldn’t have asked for more.