r&b divas (at essence)

Pictured from left to right, R&B singers and reality stars Syleena Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Faith Evans, Monifah, and Nicci Gilbert pose for a photo at the My Black is Beautiful Experience at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Sat., July 7, 2012. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for P&G)

*Returning as a major sponsor at the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, LA was P&G’s My Black is Beautiful (MBIB).  P&G’s MBIB kicked off its successful festivities with the launch of the “Imagine a Future” initiative which — in collaboration with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and Black Girls Rock! (BGR!) — is designed to positively impact the lives of one million Black girls over the next three years by providing tools and resources to foster a greater sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Imagine a Future documents the current state of Black beauty with an in-depth look at the influences – people, fashion, music, education, pop culture – and provides tools and resources to foster a greater sense of self and confidence within the next generation of young Black girls.

All three organizations came together at the Essence Music Festival (EMF) – the preeminent African American community education and entertainment weekend event – to kick off Imagine a Future in which they introduced several exciting opportunities for young girls throughout the country, including in EMF’s backyard, the New Orleans area.

During EMF, P&G’s MBIB distributed six book awards totaling $3,000 to black female students through the UNCF Empower Me Tour book award sweepstakes.  Additionally, one New Orleans-based Black female student received a $5,000 academic scholarship.

From Friday to Sunday, festival-goers showed up in droves daily to achieve the ultimate My Black is Beautiful Experience from MBIB and its supporting brands, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Pantene Relaxed & Natural, Olay, Oral-B and Crest, Gain, Charmin and Bounty.

Festival-goers enjoyed gorgeous makeovers, mini photo shots and an amazing weekend of panel discussions, celebrity appearances and a special dinner hosted by social media socialite and MBIB ambassador Bevy Smith at the fabulous International House and attended by NOLA’s popular Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

braxtons (at essence)

Pictured from left to right, R&B singers and reality stars Syleena Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Faith Evans, Monifah, and Nicci Gilbert pose for a photo at the My Black is Beautiful Experience at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Sat., July 7, 2012. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for P&G)

Smith was on duty to keep the energy high throughout the weekend.  The booth was a hub for celebrities in support of the brand’s mission to illuminate the powerful beauty and uniqueness of women of color.  Stopbys keeping the booth buzzing included songstresses Faith Evans, LeToya Luckett, The OMG Girlz, reality stars Eva Pigford, Cynthia Bailey, Toya Wright (nee Carter) and the cast of WE tv’s “Braxton Family Values,” actresses Tisha Campbell Martin & Coco Jones and R&B crooners Carl Thomas, Raheem Devaughn & Eric Roberson and style guru June Ambrose – just to name a few!

Highlights of P&G’s MBIB glam happenings included:

“Dinner with Bevy” at the swanky International House where the inaugural “Imagine a Future” scholarship from MBIB and administered by UNCF was presented to New Orleans First Lady, Cheryl Landrieu for her organization Girl-Up NOLA.  Six additional $500 book award scholarships were distributed throughout the weekend at the MBIB booth to sweepstakes winners.

“CoverGirl Queen Collection Touch Up Beauty Bar” — Consumers got the opportunity to receive free makeup touchups and makeovers from trained artists and were also able to participate in makeup demo presentation by celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sherriff.

“Pantene Relaxed & Natural Touch up Beauty Bar” — Consumers received an opportunity to test out Pantene Relaxed and Natural products and sit down for healthy hair dry styles.

“Olay Discover the ‘Olay for You’ Studio” — Consumers indulged in mini-hand massages and skin-care consultations.

“Oral-B / Crest Smile Wall” — Dentist to the stars Caprice Austin was on-site with tips on how Oral-B products can help achieve mega-watt smiles.  Patrons were also asked put their best smile forward and meet with dental professionals for screenings and then show off their smile for the camera.

“Gain ‘My Scent’ Matchmaker Booth” — Test new products and find a perfect match that will delight your senses while also delivering an unparalleled cleaning experience with matchmaker Demetria Lucas.

“Charmin Bathroom Takeover” — Consumers were able to learn more about the Charmin smart phone application and win product coupons by playing the interactive Sit or Squat game.  Plus, the booth was full of fun photo opportunities with Leonard the Bear and the Charmin toilet.

“Bounty Food Court Takeover” — Patrons said yes to the mess at this year’s Essence Music Festival with improved Bounty paper towels.  Bounty also engaged passersby with coupons and encouraged them to take photos in front of the large Bounty display to upload onto their social media channels for giveaways. #MyBlackIsBeautiful / #MBIB

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j bernard

Audrey J. Bernard