2016 was a very hard year for me. It was literally a pivotal point in my life and I honestly didn’t know what I was in need of. One day a co-worker asked me if I would like to join her girls trip to attend Essence Festival in New Orleans. I needed an escape so I quickly accepted the invitation. Though excited, I really didn’t know what to expect. What i intended on being just a fun girls weekend turned into a life changing moment in my life. Like most people attending Essence for the first time, I expected the parties, concerts, food and fun. What I didn’t expect was for one weekend to change the entire trajectory of my life.
I began my trip with engulfing myself into the Essence Expo Experience which included TONS of free workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics including finance, entrepreneurship, power, beauty and style. I filled two notebooks with all the information I was hearing because I didn’t want to miss anything! Hearing from successful black women such as Oprah, Cynthia Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, Tisha Campbell, Mona Scott-Young and more, uncovered something that was buried deep inside of me. That year I arrived at Essence a broken and lost women. I departed a healed and renewed women with new focus, drive and determination.
Within 2 years of attending Essence Festival of Culture for the first time, I became a published author, “No More Secrets: The Truth Behind Her Smile”, founded a not for profit organization, “Bruised but not Destroyed Inc.”, and went from having low self esteem to recognizing my power and strength and loving beautiful Black woman I see when I look in the mirror everyday. I’ve attended EVERY Festival since that year and every year I leave even more empowered and inspired. Fast forward to today. My non profit is thriving, I own several transitional homes, a trucking company, a business consulting firm, and a booming travel agency. I am finally living life on my terms and enjoying every minute of it. Essence Festival is so much more than a trip for me. It was literally the moment that changed my life.