The Walt Disney Company announced itself as a proud sponsor of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, which has been in existence since 1995. This annual music and cultural event takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, is organized by ESSENCE Communications, and features performances by some of the biggest names in R&B, hip-hop, gospel, and jazz music.
The ESSENCE festival includes panel discussions, exhibits, and other cultural and educational events. The festival’s mission is to celebrate Black culture and promote unity and empowerment within the African-American community. It typically attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the world and has been called one of the most significant cultural celebrations in the United States.
The Walt Disney Company’s contributions will “celebrate Black culture and community across [its] brands, content, talent, and experiences through performances, panels, and more.” From June 30 to July 2, Hulu will stream virtual-only content, including performances from Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, and Megan Thee Stallion.
For the ESSENCE Festival, Disney will offer a Studio Showcase highlighting the upcoming film Haunted Mansion, the new Disney+ series Star Wars: Ahsoka, and the highly-anticipated animated feature Wish. Attendees can also get a taste of the Disney Parks in a convention center featuring surprise character appearances, photo opportunities, giveaways, and shopping “featuring the latest products and books–from Black licensees and authors.”
Disney’s film festival portion will provide panels and screenings with artists from shows like Abbott Elementary, The Bachelorette, Grey’s Anatomy, and more! The ESSENCE stage will also include a fashion show The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary, with looks inspired by hip-hop. Black authors like K. Russell and Marisa Moore will speak at a Black Storytelling panel. Disney Publishing Worldwide will also celebrate titles by several other authors in the Disney Retail Showroom.
President and managing director of Disney Parks International Jill Estorino said,
Disney is proud to return to the ESSENCE Festival of Culture as a major sponsor and showcase the magic happening across our brands. Through culture-defining storytelling, unforgettable experiences, and more, we are inviting everyone to experience first-hand ‘The Power of Joy’ and the many ways creativity, innovation, and contributions from Black culture are reflected across Disney.
Check out all this and more at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, happening from June 29 through July 3 in New Orleans, or stream it on Hulu! Disney has been a sponsor for over a decade!