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Shawn Thompson (manager, multicultural marketing, Ford & Lincoln brands), Michelle Ebanks (president, Essence Communications), Scottish singer and songwriter Emile Sandé, Vanessa Bush (editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine), Cori Murray (entertainment editor, Essence Magazine)

*For the past five years, Essence, the preeminent brand for African American women hosts the most envied event leading up to the annual Grammy Awards with presenting sponsors Lincoln and beauty brand Cantu.

The 2014 Essence Black Women in Music event attracted the who’s who in entertainment with Lincoln having boasting rights of always being the biggest star on the red carpet as it commands the most space.

This year the luxury car brand showcased the all-new Lincoln MKC, which shared the red carpet with the 2014 MKZ for celebrity arrivals on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at the newly opened 1 OAK Nightclub in West Hollywood, CA.  Both cars provided VIP transportation for celebrities and honorees.

The event is known for showcasing emerging talent and this year’s choice was as exemplary as ever!  Guests were treated to a live performance of Scottish singer and songwriter Emeli Sandé, with guest performer Naughty Boy.  The Essence Black Women in Music event was held simultaneously with the publication of the magazine’s special February issue Grammy Insider package which profiles Sandé.  The event also featured music by DJ Kiss.

Sandé has written for a number of Grammy-winning artists and is among a select few featured in Lincoln Motor Company’s “Journey” campaign, a program that explores inspiration, entrepreneurship and people who have followed their dreams.

“Sandé, brings fresh, groundbreaking style as a performer and songwriter, which makes her a perfect match with the new perspective the Lincoln Motor Company is bringing to the luxury segment,” said Shawn Thompson, Lincoln manager, multicultural marketing.  “Lincoln is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of the 2014 Essence Black Women in Music event because it celebrates strong and creative women.”

Essence Black Women in Music, now in its fifth year, has grown to be one of the most important events leading up to the annual Grammy Awards as it celebrates emerging and established artists.

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R&B Tank in front of the all-new Lincoln MKC parked inside the Essence Black Women In Music celebration

Luminaries in attendance included:  Shawn Thompson (manager, multicultural marketing, Ford & Lincoln brands), Michelle Matthews-Alexander, (director, multicultural public relations, Ford & Lincoln brands), Michelle Ebanks (president, Essence Communications), Vanessa Bush (editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine), Cori Murray (entertainment editor, Essence Magazine), Tank, Ledisi, Leona Lewis, Eddie Georg, Stacey Barthe, Goapele, Stephen Hill, Chrisette Michele, Vivica A. Fox, Michelle Williams, Melanie Amaro, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Beverly Bond, Erica Campbell, Anthony Hamilton, Bridget Kelly, Eva Marcille, Joe Morton, Phaedra Parks, Kelly Price, Sevyn Streeter, SWV and Liv Warfield.  (Photos by Picture Group)

About Lincoln
Lincoln is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match.  Lincoln is in the process of introducing four all-new vehicles in the next four years.  For more information about Lincoln, please visit or  Follow us on Facebook at

About Essence Communications Inc.
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online.  The company’s flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the ESSENCE  FestivalESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in MusicWindow on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the ESSENCE Book, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 43 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of nearly 11 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women’s lives.  Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard