Chaka Khan performs at the Verizon Super Life Transformation Graduation

*It just keeps getting better and better!

The 2012 Essence Music Festival down in New Orleans (you gotta say it with a lazy tongue and make it one word), where the po’ boys are hot and the gumbo is fresh, has really been a blast. There’s so much activity and still another day to come.

Saturday morning, we test drove a brand new, 2013 Ford Explorer. Can we say smooth ride? The car was fantastic with a bangin’ sound system, leather interior, and navigation. Surprisingly, it’s great on gas and is a comfortable seven-seater. Not to mention, the vehicle is all around classy and is definitely the next car of the new year.

Chaka and graduates

Chaka Khan is winning! This diva of a woman inspired 33 local ladies to pick themselves up off the ground and shake the dust from their feet to become true heroines as they walked across the stage at the Verizon Super Life Transformation Graduation Ceremony.

Chaka definitely got emotional giving her speech to the first class of powerful women. Seriously, each woman had an amazing testimony to share of being swept up with the troubles and struggles of life, but finding the will power to grab the reigns and take control. For some, it was the first time ever wearing a motor board – grad cap and tassel.

As a special treat, Chaka performed for the graduates and their families who proudly danced, sang, and cheered. She rocked the stage like a beast, a pretty one. Did we mention that she looks absolutely amazing?! Go Chaka.

The afternoon was busy with lots of activity at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, from dancing at the CocaCola booth – it was more like an experience, free makeovers at the My Black is Beautiful section, and celebrity appearances at the Ford stage.

Chef G. Garvin

Lunch was great with celebrity Chef G. Garvin, who was looking quite fit and handsome. We discussed his latest projects, eating healthy, and making good, healthy food a part of an overall lifestyle change.

“I can’t force anybody to eat healthy,” he said. “I can only provide ideas.”

He explained eating the right types of food and choosing the bad stuff only in moderation is about personal responsibility. He also suggested making a grocery list before going to the store to 1. prevent shopping like a hungry greedy kid, and 2. shopping smart and economically sound.

June Ambrose

Also Saturday afternoon, we had the chance to interact with June Ambrose. She was looking beautiful and of course was rocking the hottest fit. She was actually on a mission to make over two festival goers. Can we say fabulous? A well-spoken and focused college student who has a nice thick and curvaceous body learned about lines, swoop necks, and color matching. She looked great. June, let us just say, what a doll!

At the Mercedes Superdome, who rocked the stage? Everyone! Tank had the ladies going crazy, hands down, doing his sexiness all over the place. Then Mary Mary came and cleaned up the sexually charged atmosphere with some true praise and worship. By the way, Tina Campbell is nearly nine months pregnant. But that girl worked that stage like a trooper, big belly and all. The ladies were great.

Ledisi

Oh and you know your girl Ledisi tore it up. First of all, she’s got great stage presence and knows how to connect with her audience well. But, she only was able to reach the folks on the floor and first level. There were mixed reviews. She sang her butt off, though.

Kevin Hart – ain’t much else to say except – HILARIOUS. Oh my goodness. The man is funny. If you didn’t know before, you sure learned Saturday night. He even had fire during his performance. Say what? Yes… exactly. Newly divorced, just had a birthday, and is seriously blowing up like a movie star – Kevin Hart was good. But, no one appreciated the no cell phone use rule. It was wack, but understandable since there’s a huge ‘bootlegging program’ after his work.

Mary J. Blige

Closing the show out was the Queen of Hip Hop Soul. Mary J. Blige was wonderful. Everyone in the house was on their feet dancing, singing along, and a few were screaming their heads off. You know she had to take it back to the 90s classics. It was definitely a show worth seeing.

Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills

On stage at the CocaCola Superlounge was Dru Hill, Stephanie Mills at the Ford lounge and The Stylistics at Verizon.

For the last round of the Essence Festival on Sunday, you can’t miss anyone! Kirk Franklin’s going to open the show at 6:15, then Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton and the major closer tag team, Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. The Superlounges are also going to be a treat with Estelle, Carl Thomas, Melanie Fiona, and Eve.