*The Essence Music Festival weekend got kicked off on the right foot.

Starting off with the Youth Empowerment event at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and ending with the first ever Essence Music Festival New & Next Stage event at the Superdome, the babies were well taken care of.

Teenage girls from New Orleans screamed with sheer excitement when Roshon Fegan made his way to the stage. In all of his youthfulness, he made a fantastic host, along with DJ Shatt.

New talent, Kevin Stylez, had house grooving.

Later on, major sponsors for the event, including Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Proctor and Gamble, and Ford presented gifts to EMF and to New Orleans, including a $20,000 check from Coke to two local afterschool youth programs.

With a few local events in between, Dinner with Bevy was a treat and Carol’s Daughter Pop-Up store was definitely a hot spot of the evening, especially with the tastiest cocktails made by Hennessy.

The EMF New & Next included performances by the OMG girls and fan favorite Diggy.

Friday is going to be off the chain with events starting off as early as 11 a.m. with the McDonald’s 365 Black Awards, which will honor greats like T.D. Jakes, Chaka Khan, Tamia and her husband Grant Hill, and teenage inventor, Tony Hansberry II, a recent high school graduate who invented a surgical technique that reduces the risk of infection after a hysterectomy.

It’s going to be amazing.

Friday night’s performances include Uncle Charlie Wilson, D’Angelo, Trey Songz, Keishia Cole, and the Pointer Sisters.