2015 Essence Music Festival [Featuring Missy Elliott, Usher and more]

It’s that time again to find out who exactly will be taking over NOLA this 4th of July weekend. That’s right, one of the biggest national musical events, the annual Essence Music Festival, slated for July 2nd – 5th, has recently released who will be headlining their concert series.

This year, a lot of usual festival goers were up in the air about whether or not they wanted to go to “the party with a purpose” simply because the organizers were dragging their feet with announcing not only who the headliners would be, but who would be performing PERIOD!

Last year’s festival brought some huge names in music, with the likes of Prince, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Lionel Richie, Janelle Monae and many more taking the stages, so get into who will be rocking the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this year…is it anybody that you want to see?

Headliners include Festival first-timer, Kendrick Lamar and Festival favorite, Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Missy Elliott

Also confirmed to perform at the 2015 ESSENCE Festival nighttime concerts at the Superdome include Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Common, Floetry, Sevyn Streeter, Kelly Price, Lianne La Havas, Elle Varner, Esperanza Spalding, Raheem DeVaughn, Mali Music, Eric Roberson, Teedra Moses, Avery*Sunshine, Bilal, Goapele, Robert Glasper, Trombone Shorty, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Mystikal, Slick Rick, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Nico &Vinz, SZA, Dee-1, Tonya Bond Cannon, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Kindred The Family Soul, Tweet, Jeff Bradshaw and Tank & The Bangas.

Kevin Hart, Trey Songz, and Lecrae will headline the festival’s opening “Now Playing” concert, a sort of soft opening, on Thursday, July 2. The festival first presented a smaller Thursday night event, with reduced seating and only one stage, in 2014. Hart first performed on the main Essence stage in 2012.

Acts will continuously be added to this already impressive list, so keep it locked on Concert Daily for all the updates. You can purchase tickets on Ticketmaster.


Elle Varner and Adrian Marcel Team Up For Six City Tour

These two artist bring something so fresh to the R&B genre and it only makes sense that they would want to demolish stages together. Who am I talking about? None other than Elle Varner and Adrian Marcel, of course. They have teamed up to bring six intimate shows to the east coast and mid-west. It does not look as if  it will be extended to the west but being that Adrian is from California it would make sense.

Tour news comes after the announcement of Adrian’s new single ‘Spending The Night Alone’ which is available on iTunes and Elle is promoting her  sophomore album that is set to be released soon.

Dates are listed below, make sure you check out these great artist in a city near you.



December 6th, 2014 – Washington DC – Howard Theatre

December 7th, 2014 – New York, NY – B.B. King Blues Club and Grill

December 9th, 2014 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage Theatre

December 11th, 2014 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues New Orleans

December 14th, 2014 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues Dallas

December 15th, 2014 – Houston, TX – House of Blues Houston

Review: 1st Annual MeccaFest

In the midst of the chaos that is Howard Homecoming Weekend, was a new event by the name of MeccaFest. This is one of a few new festivals to debut this year and it is always nice to see something new emerge in the chocolate city. It allows to you to see the many different approaches used to try to bring the public the best experience possible. In this case, the Howard University alumni’s that produced the event were trying to recreate Howard’s Yardfest; which no longer host live performances.

The line up for the event included rapper Future, Elle Varner, Rae Sremmurd, Teyana Taylor, Jeremih and more. The event was scheduled to start at noon on this beautiful Friday in the nation’s capitol, however, the performances did not make way until around 4 p.m. Among the many opening acts was a girl group by the name of ‘Good Girl’, I was impressed. They have a little ways to go but the potential is definitely there. They are engaging, have a well-balanced show and good look to them. I would say that they were obviously a little uncomfortable in the tight space on the stage with band equipment and more than a handful of dancers but that can be worked on. Teyana Taylor put on a SHOW, best part of the entire show in my opinion. Of course, some wished that she was singing during the performance of her single ‘Maybe’ but the focus seemed to be the dance. However, she did have surprise appearances by Yo Gotti and label mate Pusha T that sent the crowd into an uproar. Another surprise during the festival included DC’s own, Wale and Memphis bred, Snootie Wild. Wale performed a few of his hits and they both joined Jeremih on stage for a little while as well.

Overall, I would like to say that I had a wonderful time covering this event but in this particular instance, that was not the case. You had artist that did not show or just plain refused to perform because people who had no purpose of being on the stage did not want to get off.There were security teams that did nothing about the crowd that took over restricted areas so that they could get near the acts on stage. Also, not informing the crowd that an artist that they came to see was not performing. Instead, you had the DJ continue to spin records while hosts jumped around the stage keeping the crowd preoccupied and when the audience finally realized that things were being packed up on the stage; you cut the lights off.

I could go on and on but hopefully next year they learn from the mistakes and build from there. Check out a few performances below.


Review: AT&T Nations Classic Weekend

The weekend began on Friday at DC’s 9:30 Club with the Nations Classic Rally. Hosted by songstress Elle Varner and returning host Fonzworth Bently. A battle between two of the top HBCUs had begun as the Morehouse drum line took to the stage. The obviously big Bison (Howard University) presence made for an interesting performance. One had to wonder if the constant chanting of Howards “You Know” was getting underneath the Tigers skin. If so, they did little to show it, nor did their cheer leading squad.

Following the battle of the schools the first artist to hit the stage for the nights concert segment was Mack Wilds. I do like how he interacts with fans, his inclusion of tributes to artist who influenced him in his career and the fact that he was vocally consistent. Songs performed  include ‘Henny’ and ‘Own It’. However, there was a feeling that something was missing from the overall performance, I just can’t put my finger on it.

Headlining the nights festivities was singer/songwriter, Miguel. I have not seen this gentleman live since he was opening up for Trey Songz and Usher during the ‘All I Want Is You’ days. You have not been to a show until you have experienced a Miguel show. You are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go check him out when he comes to a city near you. ‘Lotus Flowerbomb’, ‘Sure Thing’, ‘How Many Drinks’ and ‘Adorn’ are among the songs that he performed. The energy, the showmanship and the interaction. You can certainly tell how much work he puts into developing his stage show. It is an amazing thing to witness.

The next day, game day, began with AT&T Soundstage right outside of RFK Stadium. An outside concert series that began at 11 am with a number of vendors available for shopping, eating and free giveaways. AT&T did have a tent set up with phones displayed and charging stations for those patrons would be at the stadium for the duration of the day.

First to take to the stage was R&B newcomer, Adrian Marcel. When I tell you this boy can blow, he can blow. The single ‘2AM’ does not even do his voice justice. As a fan of R&B it is nice to see newcomers keep the essence of what they grew up listening to in their own music. He started his set with an Al B Sure classic, ‘Night and Day’. His performance was quite impressive and the steady rain did not seem to alter his performance any. He continued his set with a few songs from his mixtape and closed with his single ‘2AM’. I would not mind witnessing him grace a stage again.

Jeremih brought his Chicago swag to the DMV as he took to the stage. He is really laid back when it comes to performing. You can tell that it is not a lazy type of thing but that he is just genuinely relaxed on stage. The highlight of the performance was when he jumped off of the stage and proceeded to vibe with the crowd. Even busting into the Shmoney dance for a little while. ‘Down On Me’ and his new single ‘Don’t Tell Em’ were definitely among his set list. I overheard a good point about Jeremih from the crowd. He seems to put out a lot of singles, will there be an album coming soon? Time will tell.

Out of the 13,178 people in attendance, I doubt to many of them were surprised at the result of the game. Howard University took home the win with a score of 35 to 17. This makes their fourth year in a row winning against Morehouse.

Check out photos and videos of this weekends events below.



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