Essence 25: Why it all started

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NEW ORLEANS-- 25 years of anything is notable, but ironically the Essence Festival, which turns this yeas was conceived as a celebration of 25 years of Essence Magazine.

Co-founder Ed Lewis told us, back in 2014, that while the magazine's founders were all men, women told the story on the pages of Essence.

According to Lewis, " It was a bold and bodacious idea back in 1968 to even think about wanting to start a magazine for black women. One of the things we clearly knew that we were men, black men, but black women the role that our editors-in-chiefs have played in putting the editorial product together, we relied on black women to do that."

From the beginning of the festival, New Orlenians have played an important role in forming the fest from Quint Davis and Festival Productions running the first 15 years to artist Douglass Redd even designing the first logo.

The Empowerment Experience at the convention center added more of a purpose to the celebration and Community Book Center's Vera Warren-Williams started the Book Emporium.

Warren-Williams said, "I saw an opportunity, as a book seller, to engage the authors with the readers and give the readers to just have their books signed, and to kick it with their favorite authors, and the opportunity to promote literacy at a festival dubbed a party with a purpose"

That party with a purpose includes a weekend of fun for most and an experience like no other as famously portrayed in the move 'Girls Trip', that starring our city in a pivotal role.

Cori Murray, Essence Entertainment Director said, "When you think back to our founders Ed Lewis and what Susan Taylor really wanted, bring about having a festival to celebrate the magazine, they didn't want this to be a transactional relationship. We didn't just want to come to New Orleans and leave. So I think for us the pillars are community culture and commerce"

Our Essence 25 series on WGNO-TV is brought to you by Rouses Markets.

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