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Well, another Essence Music Festival is in the history books and the four-day “party with a purpose” started with the R&B princess known as Brandy and ended with Queen Bey. If you couldn’t get to New Orleans for the festivities, don’t worry bay-beh, we’ve got you covered.

Brandy aka Ms. Norwood, aka Soon-To-Be-Mrs. Press, was definitely showing off the bling with the fire engagement rock hubby-to-be Ryan Press gave her. Norwood said she and felt she was “in a great place” as she sought self-fulfillment and edification through her multi-faceted career and personal life.

Essence Fest 2013: Behind the Scenes
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“I don’t ever want to stop again. I love to laugh. I love to have fun,” said the 33-year old songstress. “I’m really big on self-worth and just bettering myself as a person and treating people as I want to be treated. That’s really important to me and getting better as a person spiritually, physically … being a good mom, good daughter good fiancée and good sister and I fall short all the time … Don’t we all?”

Whatever it is that Brandy is doing, it’s working. She put on a show to kick off the Essence Music Festival that didn’t disappoint!

LL Cool J rocked the Mercedes Benz Superdome and had thousands on their feet as fans were thrown back with his timeless classics. The noted actor, rapper and sex symbol invited women on stage and was even treated to a remarkably large pair of women’s panties that was thrown at him.

“We’re having fun,” the entertainer said.” I think that’s what it’s about. I don’t judge the audience, I don’t judge the fans. I’m not there to judge people. I think all bets are off when you’re stage. I don’t go up there holding back. I go up there and give it to them raw. I don’t play games on the stage.

Jill Scott’s gold grill got as much attention as her riveting performance. The beautiful diva said Paul Wall designed and made her grill, one of others, for her and she even had a gold tooth.

“It’s there because I enjoy jewelry,” she said during a press conference after her show.

Other notables who blessed the festival with their presence were Kevin Hart, along with Trey Songz, who had Houston Rockets basketball player James Harden in tow. A revival of R&B male groups included New Jack Swing pioneers Blackstreet, Mint Condition and New Edition … and yes, Bobby Brown was there, too.

Beyonce’s festival-closing act had folks in the Superdome on their feet with her multiple costume changes and included a rendition of “Put a Ring on It” that had a taste of the cover song for sitcom “The Jeffersons.” Sister Solange opened up Saturday’s festival activity on the Mainstage, but neither Ms. Knowles nor Mrs. Carter was available for press time.

Check out the Essence Music Festival 2013 picture gallery to get a glimpse of what went down in the Big Easy …


By Nikki G. Bannister


Essence Music Festival
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