Sister 2 Sister Marketing Consultant Terrance Pratt (@tpratt1) blogs about his time with LeToya Luckett & Slim Thug, MC Lyte, Boris Kodjoe and more at the 2011 Essence Music Festival.
When I hopped off the plane in New Orleans for Essence Fest, I headed straight to Emeril’s restaurant for a meeting with Ford Motor Company’s executive team. They hosted me for the weekend, escorting me around the bustling streets of New Orleans in the sexy new Ford Explorer. I couldn’t believe that it actually had a wall plug in the back. Pretty cool.
After dinner, we headed straight over to the Belvedere Lounge, and I was surprised to catch LeToya Luckett booed up with Slim Thug. She and Slim were hanging with lifestyle expert Bevy Smith, mixing drinks. They made the Belve Peach Essence, and I asked Bevy what the ingredients were. Check out her recipe below.
1½ ounce Belvedere Intense
3 ounces of fresh brewed iced tea (but I saw them cheat with a Snapple iced tea)
1 ounce peach schnapps
½ ounce lemon juice
Slim Thug took a sip and said, “Woo! This is really sweet.” It did look like a girly drink. LeToya seemed to really like it, though.
I caught up with Doug E. Fresh in the hallway chillin’ and I asked about his mother, who I met in Harlem while dining at his restaurant. His mom is really sweet. She has Alzheimer’s and Doug E. takes care of her. He said she’s doing well.
Then I bumped into MC Lyte and gave her a hug. She was hanging with her manager Fred, who I mistakenly called Charlie Mack. Charlie Mack is Will Smith’s business partner. Fred laughed and said, “I was waiting to see if you were going to get it right. I don’t look like Charlie Mack.”
Boris Kodjoe and Garcelle Beauvais were chilling in the hall, having a conversation. Boris seemed a bit irritated by all of the interruptions from female fans hoping to get a photo with him. His wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker, must have put him on a curfew because early Sunday morning he tweeted, “Leaving the Big Easy. Thank you Essence. Jetting back to LA. Three bug hugs waiting on me. Can’t wait.”
Essence seems to have two crowds: those who come for the convention center and the concerts, and those who come for the parties and street scene. I was part of the former, and on Saturday I went to the convention center and drove the Ford Focus. I must admit: when they bragged to me about the handling, I pushed my Focus to the metal and took a curb at about 45 miles per hour. The Focus did really well gripping the corner, and the suspension was so smooth that I barely felt a bump on those raggedy New Orleans streets. The most surprising feature, however, is the technology. You don’t usually get all of those bells and whistles in the smaller cars. I registered to win a Focus, which they gave away during the show on Saturday, but Shawn Lollie, Ford’s multicultural marketing manager, didn’t pull my name. Darn it!
Even still, I had a great time in the Big Easy. If you went to Essence, tell us about your trip in the comments section.
Photos: Essence Fest 2011