Welcome to this special edition of TV One’s “Washington Watch,” coming to you from the 2012 Essence Music Festival right here in New Orleans.
Folks, this is not a music festival. This really is a cultural experience. Some call it a family reunion. More than a quarter of a million people from all across the United States come here annually on the July 4th weekend. Most people think it’s just about the concerts, and there are families, where you have folks like Charlie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan [who are] performing; but you also have empowerment sessions. You have political people here. You have social, cultural, academics, and you have entertainers. You name it, they are here.
Over the next hour, you are going to see many of the folks here at Essence. You’re going to [see] the sights. You’re going to see the sounds, and you’re going to realize this is a phenomenal event that is unbelievable. We’re here – [unintelligible] – the convention center, where you have vendors, where you have booths, you have advertisers – all targeting the most important demo in America, and that is Black women.
So, I’m telling you right now. Buckle up [and] put your seatbelt on, because you’re in for a fast ride over the next hour. And trust me. When you finish watching this show, you’re going to be saying, “What in the world was I thinking not being in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival?”
This is a special edition of “Washington Watch” with Roland Martin featuring Steve Harvey, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Chaka Khan, S. Epatha Merkerson, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Essence Editor Constance White, Marsha Ambrosius, LisaRaye, Maj. Gen. Marsha Anderson and more.