Home Events Essence Music Fest ’16: KeKe Wyatt Takes a Tumble, Babyface Strips, Mariah Carey Seduces Fan

Essence Music Fest ’16: KeKe Wyatt Takes a Tumble, Babyface Strips, Mariah Carey Seduces Fan

by Ashlee Nicole

Night One: Keke Wyatt Takes a Tumble, Tyrese Is a No Show, Babyface Strips Down, and More

The 2016 Essence Music Festival was amazing. From Babyface to New Edition, to Mariah Carey, to the Bad Boy Family, the performances I anticipated definitely lived up to my expectations, giving me all of my childhood life.

NIGHT 1: Faith Evans, Avery Wilson, Tyrese, Babyface, New Edition, Maxwell


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I walked in on Faith Evans’ performance. By the time I sat down, she brought Keke Wyatt onstage to help her sing her 1998 hit, “Love Like This.” I began recording, and as soon as I sent the video to my Snapchat story, Keke fell! I missed it. I was so mad! It reminded me why it’s so important to capture the moment without having to capture the moment. 

Tyrese was MIA due to a scheduling conflict. He was in the middle of filming Fast 8 and couldn’t pause to perform at the engagement that was only confirmed months ago (sarcasm). But, he sorta stayed committed by appearing the next night during performance breaks to belt out a snippet of “Shame.” Babyface and his discography, dating way back to the 80s, were amazing. I just wasn’t ready for him to strip down to his bare chest during his “End of the Road” performance. ‘To say he’s in his late 50s, he has more stamina than those who are 30 (like me), and his body looks great. But next time, I’m gonna need a warning.

New Edition was great. They did not let their age slow them down and showed all of these young whippersnappers what time it was. I didn’t realize they had so many songs, though! By the time they were done, my phone died.

Maxwell was lovely, but I must admit, I dipped out mid-performance. I was dead tired and I had just witnessed the same performance earlier this year at Jazz Fest.

Night Two: NOLA Brass Band Performs with Common, Mariah Carey Seduces Audience Member, and More 

I was very excited about night two. A couple of my faves were performing, but. LISTEN. From the moment Essence announced that Ms. Mariah was performing, I. was. ready! I, out of almost everyone I know, was the only excited one to see Mimi perform. But, as I knew it, she came to play and she came to slay nothing but the hits!

NIGHT 2: Estelle, Jeremih, Common, Charlie Wilson, Mariah Carey


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I walked in on the end of Estelle, but I was just in time to catch Jeremih. I was super excited to hear him sing “Oui.” Once he started performing, I realized how many of his songs I actually like. Like, there’s a lot of them.

NOLA’s own New Breed Brass Band performed alongside Common. Soul singer Bilal acted as one of his backup singers, then took the stage and performed a mini-snippet of Prince’s “Nikki” It wasn’t as intense as his BET Prince tribute performance, but it was still everything.

Uncle Charlie came to pordy, as always. Although I’ve literally witnessed the train take off for the past three years, and he didn’t perform at Jazz Fest this year, I will say that it felt like I hadn’t seen his performance in a while.

Mariah. came. to. slay. And she succeeded. She gave me every reason to be excited, to know every lyric, every ad-lib, every dance move. She was and will forever be everything. I was very surprised to see how quickly the dome filled up for her. And she rocked it, especially when she pulled a random onstage to give him a little tease.

Night Three: Luke James Pays Homage to Prince, Marsha Ambrosius Reveals Pregnancy and More

Words can’t express how ready I was for night three. I’ve literally waited to witness the greatness that Puff Daddy and the Family were going to give us that night. And they delivered.

NIGHT 3: Prince tribute, Andra Day, Ciara, Kendrick Lamar, Puff Daddy & the Family


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I was very interested to see who’d perform during the Prince tribute. I was also very excited to see New Orleans’ own Luke James open the show with a few of my favorite songs. From then, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Ashling Cole, Doug E. Fresh, and Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham gave their best renditions of Prince’s timeless classics. It ended with a jazz funeral procession while the band played, “I’ll Fly Away,” which left a few, including myself, teary-eyed.

Let me say that I honestly wasn’t there for Andra Day’s performance until she performed. She. was. amazing. She has an amazing voice and an impeccable spirit. She won me over, I’m a fan. Ciara was cute… We didn’t hear any new music from her, but she kept us on our feet with her old hits like, “1, 2 Step,” “Oh,” and “Like a Boy.” I didn’t realize her voice was actually that good.

Kendrick Lamar was lit. Like last year’s Essence Music Fest performance, K.Dot tore the dome down with another powerful performance. But it was Puff Daddy & the Family who lit that Superdome on fire. Now, he didn’t bring out the entire family, but Faith Evans, 112, and Ma$e were enough to keep the old-school party rolling. He also brought out French Montana, Fabolous, and Marsha Ambrosius who unveiled her very pregnant baby bump.

I had an overall great time at ESSENCE, and as always, I’m looking forward to next year!

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