Fly Cars Review Fly Reviews

Ford Ride & Drive: Why The New Orleans African American Museum Is An Important Staple of NOLA And Should Not Be Ignored

The 2019 Ford Media Ride & Drive during 25th Anniversary of the Essence Festival was in full force this year yet again! Running with this year’s theme “Paint the Future Proud”, the well-known motor company spotlighted visual artists Shantell Martin, Sydney G. James and Melissa Mitchell. Art installations were displayed all weekend to showcase their work, while test drives
were being offered of Ford’s current vehicle lineup; paired with panel discussions and giveaways also featured, plus so much more.

During the Ford Media Ride & Drive, journalists, influencers and more got a chance to attend a special brunch (prepared by Chef Gary Netter, Culinary Ambassador of New Orleans) at The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, History and Culture powered by Ford. Attendees received a special tour of the museum which was founded in 1996 under the guidance and extensive support of the City of New Orleans Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development.

Courtesy of NOAAM

The tour led by Gia A. Hamilton, Executive Director & Chief Curator of NOAAM, gave an extensive background story and history of the land which is located in the Tremé section of New Orleans, a neighborhood that was home to the nation’s largest, most prosperous and politically progressive community of Black people by the mid-1850s.

More about NOAAM:

In the 18th century, the land was occupied by the Morand Plantation and brickyard, which was later acquired by hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé. In 1810, Tremé sold the land to the city of New Orleans, and it became home to many free persons of color. Congo Square, was a gathering place for free persons and slaves to gather, play music, and sell goods.

Tremé is unique in its architecture, it’s streets are a gumbo of double shotgun houses, Creole cottages and townhouses. An excellent example of Creole architecture is the Meilleur-Goldthwaire House, a villa built in 1828 which makes up part of the NOAAM campus. The New Orleans African American Museum is situated near the St. Augustine Church, one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes in the nation, and two other museums that center black culture and contribution: the Backstreet Cultural Museum and Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.

On site, local artists also display their work showcasing the importance of the NOLA’s heritage and what it means to them, with an addition of political and racism issues that is going on to this very day.

Visiting NOAAM was the perfect segue way into learning about the progression within their community and how someone like the media, and more could be involved. The work starts in your own communities first, and just simply should not be ignored. Invest. Create. Lead By Example. Stand for what your ancestors stood for. Fight for what they fought for.

Thanks to Ford for staying on top of what’s important to the culture! New Orleans is so rich in history and culture, so this was a very much-needed visit and collaboration during this year’s 2019 Essence Festival.

If you’re ever in NOLA, please be sure to stop by!

Be sure to visit their website at

More pics below!

Photos by Gabriel Williams & Nigel Degaff

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FLY Events Last Night in NYC

Brandy Performs at Coca-Cola Stage during Essence Festival 2019 [Photos]

Check out photos of Brandy performing a medley of her hits at Coca-Cola’s stage during the 2019 Essence Festival! 

Photo Credit: The Coca-Cola Company

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FLY Events Last Night in NYC

Fly Events: HBO Takes Over The 2019 Essence Fest Weekend

This past weekend, HBO held multiple events at The Loft by HBO during EssenceFest in New Orleans.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Friday, July 5, 2019, HBO hosted the Human By Orientation Gallery Exhibit. As a continuation of HBO’s Human by Orientation initiative, HBO partnered with Queer | Art for an exhibition featuring the artwork of Lola Flash. Human By Orientation is a platform that highlights the universal humanity of all people regardless of ethnicity, orientation or gender identity. The campaign encourages the powerful dialogue needed to humanize the LGBTQ+ community as multifaceted individuals with experiences that celebrate otherness.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Later that Friday night, HBO x Everyday People hosted an exclusive late night party at the Ace Hotel just after things were finishing up at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Guests danced the night away to the sounds of EP’s DJ Moma while light bites and speciality cocktails were being served. It was definitely a night to remember!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To kick off a jam-packed Saturday, July 6, 2019, HBO hosted an intimate, custom workout morning session called Motivation & Movement with Angela Manuel instructed by international fitness evangelist and motivational coach Angela Manuel Davis.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Later that morning, HBO held their HBO POV: Black Ladies in Comedy Brunch where Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell (Supervising Producer & Actress) joined A Black Lady Sketch Show’s Dime Davis (Director) and Lauren Ashley Smith (Head Writer) to chat about creating comedic hits, being a black woman at the top of your game, and the process of rising to the top. The conversation was moderated by The Read’s Crissle West.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Following the brunch, HBO also hosted A Black Lady Sketch Show Screening, Panel, and Mixer where the stars of A Black Lady Sketch Show – Robin Thede (Creator), Quinta BrunsonAshley Nicole Black, and Gabrielle Dennis – sat down to discuss the need for A Black Lady Sketch Show, the process of its creation, and what to expect this season. The discussion followed a screening of the pilot episode and was moderated by culture writer Jamilah Lemieux.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To close out the weekend, on Sunday, July 7, 2019, HBO in partnership with Black Girl in Om, hosted a special yoga session complete with a workout as well as affirmations in The Loft.

FLY Events Last Night in NYC

Cast Of Netflix’s “Family Reunion” Takes On Essence Festival 2019 [Photos]

The cast of the new Netflix sitcom “Family Reunion” took to the Essence Festival Centerstage in the Convention Center to discuss the series with moderator and gospel singer/radio personality Erica Campbell: (l-r) Cameron Wright, Anthony Alabi, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Richard Roundtree, Jordyn Raya James, Loretta Devine, Talia Jackson and show creator Meg DeLoatch.

At the Ford Stage with SiriusXM’s “Heart & Soul,” Anthony Alabi, Richard Roundtree, Loretta Devine and Meg DeLoatch kept the conversation fun with radio co-hosts Cayman Kelly and Michel Wright.

A quick flick before hitting the Ford Stage: Anthony Alabi, Meg DeLoatch, Loretta Devine and Richard Roundtree.

Next stop: the Essence Festival Radio Row

Also, a multitude of press gathered at the Convention Center to interview the “Family Reunion” cast as well.

Good Times!

Photos: ONE/35 & Gabriel Williams

FLY Events Music

Essence Fest: Contemporary R&B Vocal Group June’s Diary Murders The Stage, Teases New Music

[ione_embed src= service=youtube width=640 height=360 type=iframe]

In case you missed it, all-female contemporary R&B vocal group June’s Diary debuted their first full-choreographed show since forming by way of Kelly Rowland and Frank Gatson‘s Chasing Destiny reality talent search show in 2016, live at the 2017 Essence Festival in New Orleans on Sunday, July 2.

The quintet teases eager fans with full performances of the buzz singles “All of Us”, “Wrap Around”, “I Know Why You’re Calling” and “Good Time.” Their set also included impressive renditions of Beyoncé’s “Love On Top,” The Jackson 5‘s “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” Bruno Mars‘ “That’s What I Like,” and a jaw-dropping take on En Vogue‘s “Hold On.” Towards the end of the set, the ladies even brought out none other than Chante Moore for a duet of John Legend‘s “This Time.”

The group’s recently released cover of the classic Jodeci track “Stay” served as a teaser for the project, embodying the revival of the luring qualities of hit R&B groups from the pre-millennium decade – resonant vocals and infectious hooks, coupled with searing, rubbery, R&B bounce.

For more updates, follow June’s Diary on Instagram and Twitter @JunesDiary and like June’s Diary on Facebook.

FLY Interviews SFPL TV

Fly Interview: Essence Atkins Talks ‘Marlon’, McDonald’s 365 Black Awards & more

[ione_embed src= service=youtube width=854 height=480 type=iframe]

We caught with actress Essence Atkins during this year’s Essence Festival as she discussed her hosting duties for McDonald’s 365 Black Awards, the upcoming new sitcom ‘Marlon‘ and so much more.

Check out the full interview above.

FLY Events

Essence Festival: FORD rocks out with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith& more

Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Lorenz Tate, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Tiffany Haddish at a Sirius/XM radio interview at the Ford Motor Company booth during the 2017 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 30, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

Ford Motor Company celebrated the July Fourth weekend in New Orleans as part of the annual ESSENCE Festival®. As an exclusive automotive sponsor for the ninth consecutive year, Ford provided attendees the opportunity to get up close and personal with its latest lineup of vehicles, including the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and 2018 Ford F-150.

ESSENCE Festival delivered a star-studded lineup this year, with Ford hosting the most exciting and chart-topping talent at the Superdome lounge and at the Ford booth all festival weekend. Legendary singer Chaka Khan debuted the world premiere of her latest single during her live interview with SiriusXM from the Ford booth at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The cast of Girls Trip including Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Larenz Tate and Tiffany Haddish were also spotted onstage at the Ford booth.

R&B singer’s Tank, India Arie and Elle Varner graced the Ford booth stage, as well as Empire, stars Bryshere Y. Gray and Ta’Rhonda Jones. Joseph Sikora also stopped by for an interview.

Festival-goers had the opportunity to register to test drive the newest vehicles in the Ford lineup, including the 2017 Ford Explorer, 2017 Ford Escape, and 2017 Ford Fusion. One lucky registrant was presented keys to a brand-new 2018 Ford Mustang on Sunday by comedienne and daytime talk show host Loni Love and Raj Register, Ford Multicultural Communications Manager.

Photo Credit – Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup on behalf of FORD

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


FLY Events

Essence Fest: ‘Girls Trip’ VIP Screening Brings Out the Stars

During this year’s Essence Festival, Hello Beautiful, in partnership with Nissan and Universal Pictures, hosted a VIP red carpet screening for the new film GIRLS TRIP. Attending from the cast was Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate and Kofi Siriboe; director Malcolm Lee and producer Will Packer introduced the film. Hello Beautiful editors Allison McGevna, Shamika Sanders and Keyaira Kelly were also on hand to welcome guests.

Special guests included Ava Duvernay (filmmaker), Bevy Smith (radio/tv host), Big Freedia (FUSE TV), Issa Rae (HBO’s “Insecure”), singer/songwriter Tank, RonReaco Lee (Starz’ “Survivor’s Remorse”), Ari Lennox (Interscope Recording Artist), Karen Civil (social media maven), actress/singer Letoya Luckett, Shyann Roberts (June’s Diary); Fox’s “Star” cast members Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady and Miss Lawrence; actress/model Nomzano Mbatha, actress Essence Atkins, actress Bresha Webb, RCA recording artist Elle Varner, tv personality Tai Beauchamp; “Queen Sugar” co-stars Omar Dorsey and Timon Kyle Durrett; tv host Alesha Renee, rapper/tv personality Romeo, Mona Scott Young (Monami Entertainment), Yandy Smith (“Love & Hip Hop”), celebrity stylist Ty Hunter, radio personality Wild Wayne (WQUE) and more.

Photos: J. Wiggins for iOne

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Entertainment FLY Interviews

NBA Rookie Of The Year Karl-Anthony Towns Talks Verizon Partnership, Technology, & Upcoming Season At The 2016 ESSENCE Festival

The annual ESSENCE Festival took place in New Orleans, LA over the holiday weekend. Like previous year’s the festival included live musical performances, discussions, addresses, and so much more.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone

Among those in attendance this weekend was the NBA’s 2016 Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns, in partnership with Verizon took part in #VerizonInspires; which featured meet and greets, panel discussions, and of course music. In an effort to inspire tomorrow’s creators an innovative learning hub was created where attendees could tinker with the latest technological devices, charge up their phones, and win prizes.

Before Town’s sat down to talk with SFPL‘s own Gabriel Williams he oversaw a running man challenge face-off between a few of the teens in attendance. After wrapping up the brief competition the Minnesota Timberwolves center discussed partnering with Verizon, his experience with technology, and even divulged on who he was looking forward to seeing perform. Peep the full interview below and don’t forget to check out our recap of the ESSENCE Festival weekend.

What brings you here tonight?

I’m here helping Verizon with a mentoring program they have that teaches kids how to use technology to their advantage. You know technology is something that the culture and community is changing with, it’s become something of a necessity not even a luxury anymore. Just trying to teach these kids the technology that’s out there and also have them accommodate to it.

How familiar are you with technology? Can you build websites or do anything specific that we should know about?

Yes. I’ve been blessed to have a school system that’s helped me utilize technology to my advantage. Computer classes, typing, making websites, and having an after-school program that helped me learn how to use [technology] better. These things have tremendously helped me in my career.

Reaching this point in your career did you ever think you’d be working with Verizon? How does that feel?

You know it’s amazing. I’ve been a Verizon customer not even a brand ambassador since I was young. Since I had my first cellphone, I’ve had Verizon so it’s amazing to think that after all these years  now I’m representing the company and it’s a blessing and an honor to represent such a great company that I personally use myself.

Is this your first time at ESSENCE Fest?

Yes, it’s my first time ever. Hopefully it won’t be my last.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 03: Puff Daddy performs at the 2016 ESSENCE festival at the Superdome on July 3, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
Puff Daddy performs at the 2016 ESSENCE festival at the Superdome on July 3, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Who are you looking forward to performing?

You know they have a lot of great performers. Andra Day killed it out there. Ciara is right now killing it. I’m really excited actually to see the last two. It’s more of my area, Puff Daddy and The Family. Being from the New York area that’s something that everyone grows up with. So Puff Daddy is big with us especially with BIG being a part of the group once upon a time. For me also Kendrick Lamar. I’m a big Kendrick Lamar fan. I can’t wait to see him perform live, I’ve never seen him perform live so it’s going to be a very cool experience.

What else can we expect from you? What do you have coming up?

I have a lot of new things in my toolbox.  A lot of new tools. So I’m just going to utilize them to my advantage. I’m going to take those tools and you’re going to see a whole different player next year with the same type of game you saw last year.

If you were stuck on an island and you could only have three albums what albums would those be?

So I’m going to go the smart route. I’m going to take 2Pac Greatest Hits album the two disc set so that counts as one. I’ll take Chronic by Dr. Dre, and Good Kid Maad City by Kendrick. I’d put Drake’s Nothing Was The Same on there but I’d be too depressed the whole time being by myself. I need something to keep me going. I think those three. If I had honorable mentions I’d throw Kanye West Graduation and lastly I would pick Ice Cube KKK Most Wanted.


Congrats to Towns on earning this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year award. We can’t wait to see him hit the court when the new season starts. As always, stay fly.