ESSENCE Cultural Festival 2022: Caroline Wanga CEO Pauline Malcolm explains what to expect from this year’s event

LOS ANGELES – For more than 50 years, ESSENCE has been an important brand in Black culture, growing to become the leading media, technology and commerce company serving women and the community. Black skin.

Caroline Wanga, chief executive officer of ESSENCE Communications Inc. and chief growth officer of ESSENCE Ventures, explained the brand’s roots in an interview with On The Red Carpet’s Storytellers Spotlight.

“The ESSENCE brand was created when Black women weren’t fully seen how they were supposed to be. This is a 50-year-old brand that was founded at a time when so many other Black brands were. […] also existed. But there’s something about her voice, the way she lives, the way she exists, what she needs to know about her awesomeness, that’s seen as a hole in the media industry,” Wanga explained.

“A group of men decided it was important to highlight the Black women who were extremely important to them and started something called ESSENCE,” she continued. “And then halfway through, a festival emerged that is still the largest in the nation by number of attendees per day.”

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the much-anticipated ESSENCE Cultural Festival is back in 2022. The event, which began in 1995, is known as the Super Bowl Festival because it attracts several hot festivals. performing American culture and attracting more than 500,000 attendees. It was originally based solely on music but has now evolved into an event that hosts various activities during the 4th of July holiday.

This year is especially unique as The Walt Disney Company will be the exclusive entertainment partner and invite audiences to experience this year’s theme: The Power of Joy.

Pauline Malcolm, chief revenue officer for ESSENCE, explains how storytelling plays a key role at the festival: “We have a wide range of filmmakers and festivals that the Walt Disney Company will be sponsoring. [that tells] stories of our beauty, telling stories of our health, through business. It’s all woven into the fabric of our festival as a whole, through all the different programs we have. We have panel discussions [and] Music is a big part of the storytelling we do with our nightly concerts. “

Wanga further explains how storytelling has become such an important part of the African diaspora and how the ESSENCE brand aims to continue to connect all people of African descent.

“We’re going to play our part. Reconnecting the African diaspora is reconnecting our strength as people,” said Wanga. “Our culture, the way we influence the world, what we are capable of has not disappeared. It has been dissected.”

She continued, “What we’re excited to do is bring it together, remind it how wonderful it is, tell the story of before we were enslaved and colonized and taken away. people return to their original greatness and greatness. This future will be.”

Attendees can expect to see greatness reflected in this year’s all-star lineup with performances from Kevin Hart, Janet Jackson, Mickey Guyton, New Edition and more.

For the first time this year, Hulu is the official streaming partner of ESSENCE and will be offering a live stream of performances and curated panels, titled “ESSENCE FEST PRIMETIME,” from March 1st. July. Available for free to Hulu subscribers, the live stream will begin at 8 p.m. ET | 7pm CT | 5 p.m. PT every night and run for five hours.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of this ABC station.

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