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Black women unite! Our festival is upon us, which means it’s time to converge at the convention center in NOLA for a weekend of empowering panels, uplifting events, beauty booths galore, concerts and so much more.

Here’s your ultimate festival guide.

What To Bring

Essence Festival 2016 Streetstyle

Source: Danielle James / Hello Beautiful

First things first. Packing light, but effective is of the essence here (get it…essence). Girl, it’s going to be hot. We’re talking hot hot, which the less clothing the better. Think bright colors (melanin-friendly) and comfortable but cute shoes because you’re going to be walking a lot.

The convention center is the central location for the Essence experience and is where you’ll find yourself spending the most time. Bring cash because the parking lot is full of delicious food and drink vendors. They might take card, but who wants to be waiting for a receipt on the black top in the heat? Exactly.

MUST SEE: 21 Hair And Makeup Inspo’s That Will Be Perfect For The Essence Festival

The Panels

The most empowering part of Essence Festival is the opportunity to see your favorite motivational speakers, celebrities and personalities on panels.

Check out some of these panels and expos:

Thursday, July 5

Boss Up! – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs- Thursday, July 5: 1:00pm

“Miles & Mimosas: Back to your Roots” A conversation with RUNGRL about Black Hair as a Barrier to Wellness- Friday, July 6th: 10:00am

Ashunta Sheriff Presents “Get Glowing: Tips & Tricks For a Flawless Glow”- Friday, July 6th: 11:05

Beauty Myths Debunked: Slay, Nay or UmKay?! feat Gia Peppers, Dr. Candrice Heath and Tahira Wright of The Cut Life- Friday, July 6th: 12:35pm- 12:55pm 

Being an Editor-in-Chic with Mikki Taylor- Friday, July 6th: 12:45pm

Building and Branding The Mpire: An MPowered Conversation with Mona Scott-Young- Friday, July 6: 2:05pm

#BlackGirlsDo: How Black Girls Practice Self-Care feat, Kela Walker, Naturi Naughton and Necole Kane- Saturday, July 7th: 4:30pm-4:50pm 

Bearded Bae Showdown: The Hottest Bearded Guys at ESSENCE Fest- Friday, July 6: 2:55pm

Saturday, July 7

Insecure FYC

Source: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

Black Panther Heroic Encounter- Saturday, July 7: 11:00am

TRESemmé Summer Slay Hair Masterclass with Unilever Hair Expert, Ursula Stephen- Saturday, July 7: 11:35am

Screening of “Claws” followed by a cast Q&A, Presented by TNT- Saturday, July 7: 12:15

Cast Appearance: Insecure, Presented by HBO with Yvonne Orji & Y’lan Noel- Saturday, July 7: 12:55

Meet the cast of Power including Joseph Sikora, Rotimi & Naturi Naughton, presented by STARZ!- Saturday, July 7: 3:25

Sunday,  July 8

Cast Appearance: The Bobby Brown Story, presented by BET Networks- Sunday, July 8: 12:15pm

“What The F?” A lively, interactive, honest girl chat about FIBROIDS, FERTILITY and being a FEMALE!- Sunday, July 8: 12:30pm

10th Annual Gospel Tribute- Sunday, July 8: 12:45pm

Tasha Cobb Leonard Performance- Sunday, July 8: 2:15pm

Johnny Gill Performance- Sunday, July 8: 4:10pm

Beauty Booths

Portrait of woman smiling while wearing head tie over gray background

Source: Maskot / Getty

Throughout the convention center you will find beauty booths by various brands offering free hair, nail and spa services. That wristband will take you far. But be patient. As you can imagine, the lines to get these services can get long since we’re all trying to enjoy the perks. My Black Is Beautiful always has an elaborate set-up that will immediately capture your eye. So lookout for the #MBIB logo.

Get Ready For The Turnup

Essence Festival is Black woman central. Whether you’re coming with your girls or alone, be prepared to find a fellow melanin warrior who will become your bestie. And you’ll need her because the concerts at Essence Festival are lit! Here’s a detailed schedule of who’ performing and where.

Friday, July 6

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest Mia X- Main Stage

7:00 Ledisi- Main Stage

7:05 Pell- Superlounges

7:15 Lloyd- Superlounges

7:30 Damien- Escobar Superlounges

7:45 Miguel- Main Stage

8:30 H.E.R.- Superlounges

8:45 Kelly Price’s “For the Love of R&B” feat Keke Wyatt and Vaughn Willis-Superlounges

9:00 MC Lyte- Superlounges

9:00 Snoop Dogg- Main Stage

10:00 Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and More in a Special Curation by The Roots- Main Stage

Saturday, July 7

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest V. Bozeman- Main Stage

7:00 Ella Mai- Superlounges

7:15 Kelela- Superlounges

7:30 Yanina- Superlounges

7:45 Jussie Smollett- Superlounges

7:45 XSCAPE- Main Stage

8:40 Queen Latifah Presents “Ladies First” with Special Guests Missy Elliott, Remy Ma, MC Lyte, Nikki D and More- Main Stage

9:00 Idris Elba- Superlounges

10:10 Mary J. Blige- Main Stage

Sunday, July 8

6:00 Roy Wood Jr.- Main Stage

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest Ashanti- Main Stage

7:10 DJ Jubilee- Superlounges

7:15 Ro James- Superlounges

7:30 Louis York- Superlounges

7:45 Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Curation feat SWV, Blackstreet, Guy and more- Main Stage

8:00 Victory Boyd- Superlounges

8:15 Mali Music- Superlounges

8:30 Big Freedia- Superlounges

8:50 DVSN- Superlounges

9:40 Big Freedia- Superlounges

9:55 Fantasia- Main Stage

10:40 Janet Jackson- Main Stage

For more information, visit EssenceFestival.com and stay tuned for more coverage on HelloBeautiful.com  and Instagram.

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Hello World: Your Ultimate Guide To Essence Festival 2018 was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

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