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#EssenceFest: Toni Braxton, Wendy Raquel Robinson and More Honored at 13th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards in NOLA

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A number of notable celebrities, community leaders and entertainers descended on the city of New Orleans once again to attend the 13th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards, held today at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. They were joined by spectators who converged to salute this year’s recipients of the distinguished awards, including Grammy Award-winning artist Toni Braxton; football cornerback Charles Tillman; award-winning actress Wendy Raquel Robinson; educator and historian Lonnie Bunch; and McDonald’s owner/operatorLarry Triplett. Additionally, teen philanthropist Lauren Seroyer and teen social-entrepreneur Donovan Smith were recognized alongside this lineup with the third McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award, facilitated by Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Actress and singer Amber Riley and actor Lance Gross co-hosts the 13th Annual McDonald's 365 Black Awards at the Ernest Moral Convention Center in New Orleans, LA on Friday, July 1, 2016.
Actress and singer Amber Riley and actor Lance Gross co-hosts the 13th Annual McDonald’s 365 Black Awards at the Ernest Moral Convention Center in New Orleans, LA on Friday, July 1, 2016.

McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. The program launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of AfricanAmericans year-round. Held in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival™presented by Coca-Cola®, the event was hosted by actor Lance Gross and actress/singer Amber Riley.

Singing siblings and reality television co-stars The Braxton Sisters performed a show-stopping tribute to their sister, Lifetime Achievement honoree, Toni Braxton. Vocal powerhouse Kelly Price, along with recording artists Kenny Lattimore, V. Bozeman and Eric Benet joined the sisters in the esteemed accolade to Toni. Anthony Hamilton and the Hamiltones, Chrisette Michele, Ro James and Canton Jonesled the other crowd-moving performances at the awards.

Actresses Sheryl Lee RalphTa’Rhonda JonesErica Ash and Gabrielle Dennis, along with actors Cornelius Smith Jr., Ronreaco Lee and Jay Ellis, were among this year’s presenters. Other celebrities in attendance included recording artists Jordin SparksAvery Wilson and Guordan Banks, as well as music producer Sean Garrett and comedian/philanthropist Ricky Smith.

Actor, comedian and popular internet personality King Bach brought his large social media following along to the event, posting photos from the signature gold carpet prior to the ceremony.

“We salute this year’s honorees for all of their achievements and for positively contributing to their communities,” said William Rhodes, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “It is important to acknowledge people who are making a real difference. We at McDonald’s are proud to be able to honor this group with this form of recognition. We hope it inspires them and others to continue to make positive impact.”

Those who missed the live awards ceremony can share in the experience by watching the broadcast on BET® Networks and CENTRIC later this summerAdditionally, consumers can follow @365Black on Twitter for commentary on the awards and join the conversation using #365BlackAwards.

More pics below.

Photo Credit: Soul Brother 

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Essence Fest 2015: Luke James, Goapele, Loni Love Attend Verizon Dinner at Dooky Chase Restaurant

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On Day #4 of the Essence Music Festival, Verizon Wireless hosted an exclusive media dinner at New Orleans historic restaurant, Dooky Chase.

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During the evening’s dining festivities, panelists Javier Farfan [VP of Cultural Engagement for Verizon], Artists: Goapele and native of NOLA, Luke James all discussed the effects of “Music & Technology” combined in today’s entertainment industry. The panel was curated by Krista Bourne [Regional President for the Houston/Gulf Coast Region]. Comedian and The Real‘s Loni Love was also in the building providing laughs and good times!

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Attendees got their tastebuds alined from what has been the talk of the weekend, as The Best food in town. A standing ovation was in order, as Leah Chase approached the room with such grace.

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At 92 years old, Leah still cooks in the kitchen full-time serving up some of the BEST creole food ever! She’s simply amazing and an inspiration to us all.

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Spotted above, Leah Chase has even cooked for the President of the United States, Barack Obama, as he’s visited the restaurant on more than one occasion.

About Dooky Chase

Dooky Chase opened its doors for business starting in 1941. What was initially a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet in 1939 blossomed into a thriving bar and later a respected family restaurant in Treme. Founded by Emily and Dooky Chase, Sr., Dooky Chase’s Restaurant soon became the meeting place for music and entertainment, civil rights, and culture in New Orleans.

Today Dooky Chase’s remains family owned and operated. After Hurricane Katrina Dooky’s did close for two years to rebuild, but with assistance of many, Dooky Chase’s remains the premier restaurant for authentic Creole Cuisine

The Chase Family enjoys serving its regular customers, tourists, and locals. They also remain a stopping place for politicians, musicians, visual artists, and literary giants. Dooky Chase’s has had the pleasure of serving both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, Hank Aaron, Ernest Gaines, Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones and a list of others.

Congrats to Team Verizon on their successful event and weekend during the 2015 Essence Music Festival!

[Photos by Chris Mitchell]

-(@GabrielofSFPL)

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Essence Fest 2015: The 12th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards hosted by Terrance J & Keke Palmer [Photos]

365black awards gold carpet

During this year’s Essence Music Festival, celebs hit the gold carpet for the 12th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Peter G. Forest
Peter G. Forest

The lively annual event hosted by Terrance J. and Keke Palmer took place during EMF weekend to recognize exceptional leaders who make positive contributions within the African-American community.

The 2015 Honorees were:

 

Community Service Youth Award (CCYA) Recipients: 

Peter G. Forest
Aaron Johnson & Tori Turner

Others in attendance were: B.o.B, Sevyn Streeter, Yolanda Adams, Amber Riley, Smokie Norful, Johnathan McReynolds, Andra Day, Raheem DeVaughn, Dee-1, Avery Sunshine, Avant, Flex & Shanice, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner and more.

[Photos by Gabriel Williams (of SFPL) & Peter G. Frost]

Check out more photos below…

-(@GabrielofSFPL)

[ione_media_gallery id=”138810″ overlay=”true”]

 

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Essence Fest 2015: Amber Riley, Sevyn Streeter, Laurieann Gibson, Raheem DeVaughn & more at P&G’s My Black Is Beautiful Reception

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During this year’s 2015 Essence Music Festival, Proctor & Gamble‘s My Black Is Beautiful held an exclusive cocktail hour and dinner at New Orleans Jazz Market. As you entered the pristine establishment, guest were greeted with passed hors d’oeuvres and speciality drinks, and subtle sounds of a trio jazz band playing in the background.

As part of its long-standing commitment to touch and improve the lives of African-American women, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has always been proud to be a title sponsor of the 2015 ESSENCE Festival for the 7th straight year. This year, P&G’s ‘My Black is Beautiful’ inspired women to celebrate and share their “Beauty In Action” during the ESSENCE festivities and beyond by providing signature experiences with its partner brands, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Pantene, Clairol Professional, Olay, Gain, Bounty, Charmin and Puffs.

Attendees of the EMF joined the celebration by visiting the ‘My Black is Beautiful’ booth and enjoyed fun makeovers, live music, transformational programming, celebrity meet & greets, and surprise gifting through social media. Guests also meet the six newly crowned 2014 “MBIB Ambassadors” who was on hand throughout the weekend to motivate, excite and galvanize attendees to affect positive change in their local community.

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Before, heading into the next room for a sit-down dinner, Dancer/Choreographer/Creative Director Laurieann Gibson showed the attendees how to boost their confidence through dance, therefore, teaching the new #MBIB line dance, which she created herself.

Other guests included: 

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Singer/Actress Amber Riley who wowed the crowd with her flawless vocals and premiering a new song for the very first time, which she performed.

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Singer/Songwriter Sevyn Streeter performing her hit single “4th Street.”

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Singer/Songwriter Raheem DeVaughn.

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TV Host & Pop Culture Expert Jawn Murray and Blood, Sweats & Heels star & Author Demetria Lucas D’Oyley.

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Singers/Songwriters & Wal-Mart Ambassadors Kindred The Family Soul.

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TV Personality & MTV Girl Gode‘s Alesha Renee.

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Congrats to P&G’s MBIB for a great turn out!

For more information about My Black is Beautiful, visit www.myblackisbeautiful.com and follow us on facebook.com/MBIB, Instagram (@MBIB) and Twitter (@MBIB), using hashtags #MBIB and #BIAJourney.

 

[Photos by Chris Mitchell] 

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Essence Fest 2015: Andra Day Host FORD Press Dinner at The Little Gem Saloon

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Pictured Above: Andra Day and Shawn Lollie (photo by Chris Mitchell )

On Day 2 of this year’s Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, The FORD Company, which was one official sponsors for the event — held an exclusive Media Dinner hosted by singer/songwriter Andra Day.

ford dinner at essence festival
Chris Mitchell

Selects media brands, including Stuff Fly People Like, enjoyed a delicious menu at one of N.O.’s best restaurants, Little Gem Saloon. The southern cuisine provided select foods like; Smoked St. Louis Cut Ribs, LA Barbeque Shrimp, Kale Salad, Shrimp & Grits, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Filet Mignon and more.

shawn lollie at the ford dinner
Chris Mitchell

Multicultural Marketing Manager of Ford, Shawn Lollie spoke to the attendees about EMF, being with Ford for over 20 years — passed through her mother and father — who also worked for premier company, and she also introduced new artist Andra Day, filtering in a video presentation of the featured talent sponsored by Ford.

andra day at ford dinner
Chris Mitchell

After the video EPK, Andra sat with the press for an up close and personal conversation about her life, music and much more.

 

 

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Chris Mitchell

Affiliates that attended the dinner were: Stuff Fly People Like, Global Grind, Divas and Dorks, O Magazine, Arise TV, ItsArkeedah.com, VIBE Magazine, Bossip, ABC News Radio, The Root, JawnMurray.com, Huffington Post and more. 

The Ford Press Dinner was amazing!

Thanks Ford!

-(@GabrielofSFPL)

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Essence Fest 2015 Performances: Missy Elliot Makes A Comeback, Usher Takes Us Back To ‘My Way’, Kendrick Lamar Closes Out The Weekend & more

Josh Brasted/FilmMagic
Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

This year’s Essence Music Festival was definitely one to remember!

Nearly a half million attendees converged upon New Orleans this 4th of July weekend for the 2015 ESSENCE Festival, one of the country’s largest live events.  The annual 4-day Festival, which took place July 2-5, features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world’s best performers each night.  In addition, for the first time this year, the Festival touched tens of thousands of fans around the world via 100 hours of produced live-stream content.

Missy Elliot hit the EMF stage on Saturday night, which was the most anticipated performance of the entire weekend, along with Kendrick Lamar. Serving up a plethora of hits that we all from the hitmaker; “Work It”, “Get Your Freak On”, “Pass That Dutch”, “Hot Boyz” and so much more. The crowd was loosing their minds!

Team SFPL was on-hand to get exclusive coverage of the entire weekend just inches away from the stage:

.@missyelliot performs “Work It”! #EssenceFest #StuffFlyPeopleLike #EFMedia15 #FordUp

A video posted by Stuff Fly People Like (@thesfpl) on Jul 7, 2015 at 9:40am PDT

There’s plenty more footage right on SFPL’s IG page!

Towards the bitter end of Elliot’s set, it seems as her time was up, once her mic was completely turned off following the lights on stage. Leaving, singer Monica behind the curtains as she was about to step out, as the surprise guest.

Missy then proceeded to pull the singer by her hand, as she waved to crowd in the dark. It’s unfortunate that it happened so prematurely, but eventually Missy was brought back on-stage after Usher‘s set with the Essence crew giving a public apology for the mishap.

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Josh Brasted/Getty Images

 

Later, ME attended the Wind And Grind afterparty presented by Saint Heron & Ciroc, hosted by Solange Knowles featuring the Missy Appreciation Hour with a special surprise tribute performance. Kelly Rowland, Beyonce and Jay Z were in the building for the festivities.

 

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Josh Brasted/Getty Images

Singer Tweet was on-hand to take the party-goers down memory lane! It was such a great time!

 

kendrick lamar at essence fest
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar closed out this year’s Essence Fest in a major way! Covering his hit songs like; “Alright”, “King Kunta”, “The Blacker the Berry” and more. Lamar gave attendees a real live visual of his latest chart-topping album To Pimp A Butterfly.

Peep a short clip of his performance below:

#KendrickLamar slows “Alright” down a bit at #EssenceFest! #StuffFlyPeopleLike

A video posted by Stuff Fly People Like (@thesfpl) on Jul 6, 2015 at 2:45pm PDT

From the beginning to end, KL keep the audience intrigue and wanting more!

trey songz performs at essence
Chris Mitchell

Singer Trey Songz also graced the stage keeping the women on “everything Trigga”! Clad in a white button-down, ripped jeans, and a pair of white leather Buscemi sneakers, Songz was quite Fly!

trey songz at essence fest
Gabriel Williams of SFPL

Trey also paid a visit to Press backstage in the Media Room to answer a few questions after his EMF performance.

lecrae at the essence fest
Gabriel Williams of SFPL

Christian Rapper Lecrae hit the Media Room after just leaving the stage, giving the audience a reason why his album was #1 in the country! The talented artist discussed Hurrican Katrina [10th Anniversary], coming to New Orleans as a kid to visit family, how he likes to study culture being a Social Anthropologist, and working on a new album after a few more show dates.

lecrae at essence fest in yeezy boost
Gabriel Williams of SFPL

As he entered, you couldn’t help but see his new pair of the Yeezy Boost 350‘s!

mary j blige at essence festival
Bennett Raglin/WireImage

The incomparable Mary J. Blige put on one HELL of a performance! Dip in red and later changing into all black jumpsuit, Mary delivered her music catalog of hits, and it was a site to see! Surprise guest, Method Man hit the stage as he and Mary reminisced the crowd with the classic hit song “You’re All I Need.”

Take a peek below:

#MaryJBlige performing her set at #EssenceFest #StuffFlyPeopleLike A video posted by Stuff Fly People Like (@thesfpl) on Jul 6, 2015 at 2:47pm PDT

The best show ever!

mary j blige visits samsung
Skip Bolen/Getty Images for Samsung

A few hours before her concert appearance, Mary stopped by the Samsung Milk Music Lounge at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for a brief interview, and to test out a few products.

usher performs for essence festival
Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Usher takes over the Essence Fest stage just after Missy’s timeless performance, taking us back the My Way day! Too many songs, Ursh touched on just about every song her has ever recorded.

#Usher doing his thing on stage at #EssenceFest! #StuffFlyPeopleLike #EFMedia15 #FordUp @howuseeit

A video posted by Stuff Fly People Like (@thesfpl) on Jul 4, 2015 at 10:24pm PDT

Great job Usher!

erykah badu at essence festival
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Erykah Badu took the stage giving her BADU’isms, as she took the Essence crowd on a journey through her classics! From “Tyrone” to “On & On”, there was no stopping the audience from singing every lyrics attached to Erykah’s songs.

More coverage about the 2015 Essence Festival coming up soon!

-(@GabrielofSFPL)