Monday, June 24, 2013

Essence Music Fest 2013 - "There's Nothing Like It!


The Essence Music Festival will host some of the world's top brands and deliver a jammed-packed weekend of interactive fan experiences and excitement, starting with the NEW Princess of Southern Soul--Gina Brown.

Don't miss your chance to watch the pages of Essence Magazine come to life as fans engage with editors,  A-List celebrities and the some of the "biggest names in news and entertainment!"

(New York, NY)There are less three weeks to go until the nation’s largest African American gathering of music and culture converges upon the city of New Orleans from July 4-7. This year, the 19th annual ESSENCE Festival features a musical line-up that is second to none, including BeyoncĂ©, Maxwell, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Brandy, Jill Scott and more. Attendees can also expect appearances from world-renowned speakers, authors, innovators and celebrities for the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, as well as an opportunity to engage with the world’s most esteemed brands.

Top global brands will come together for a weekend of great music, rich cultural experiences, delicious samples, make-overs, vehicle test drives, celebrity meet and greets and more.  From Presenting Sponsor Coca-Cola to major sponsors Walmart, Ford, McDonald’s, My Black Is Beautiful, Verizon and State Farm fans will experience unmatched consumer engagement each day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and throughout the city of New Orleans. Official sponsors MSNBC, Coors Light, TV One and Visa Prepaid will also turn up the heat with even more innovative and exciting ways to connect with Festival-goers.

"VISION/VOICE/VARION" will be front row and center stage as The 19th Annual Essence Festival hosts some of the 'worlds top brands and delivers a jammed-packed weeked of interactive fan experiences and excitement.  For the first time ever, VVV will bring you the 4th of July "Family Reunion Day!"  One of the featured artists will be none other than Vision/Voice/Varion favorite Gina Brown.  Gina joins Doug Fresh, Tweet and dozens of other nationally renowned recording artist on Independence Day.  The variety of music promises to be a "blast" for the entire family to enjoy.                        
New Orleans Own--Gina Brown 

The ESSENCE Center Stage in the Convention Center is at the epicenter of everything Hot Right Now at the ESSENCE Festival throughout the weekend. Attendees will connect with our ESSENCE editors and favorite celebrities who will be on full display on the ESSENCE Center Stage each day. Our exclusive category, vendor and media partner participants will have an opportunity to interact with the ESSENCE reader and showcase their brand message through live moments. In addition, our attendees will have a chance to engage with celebrities and personalities in the Fan Zone as well as buy official merchandise, ESSENCE subscriptions and official ESSENCE branded photos.

For more informaiton about the latest news about The EssenceFestival-visit: 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!


My Dad, Mr. Jimmie Walton-"The Man Who Started It All"


Tuesday, June 4, 2013



(Huntsville, AL.)--Whew, what an amazing testimony!  So often professional women are called on to "spread the wealth," speak before groups and our youth to give them some insight on how to succeed in life.  I thought I had heard all the success stories before, but nothing could have quite prepared me for this.  Before you hit play on the video above, first I've got to give you "the story behind the story!"

The first time I laid eyes on Michelda Johnson was two years ago at an ART N SOUL event in Huntsville, AL. Ms. Johnson is the proud owner of Edible Arrangements in Huntsville.  She has bragging rights of owning one of the very first franchise stores in the state of Alabama.  Even then, during the poetry/spoken word event I could tell there was something very giving about Michelda's spirit.  Art N Soul is an Alabama based group of authors, writers and poets, who share a common bond for the literary world.  Art N Soul is considered a "power house" organization when it comes to promoting and marketing independent artists in the Southeast.  For years Ms. Johnson has served as a corporate sponsor for a number of events for this group.  This particular night she appeared to be exhausted, but I was struck by her commitment to not only support the group by writing a check, but by 'being present and connected.'

Michelda is petite for her size.  She stands roughly 5 feet 4 inches tall, but casts a big shadow "socially and professionally." Johnson who has a background in nursing literally wears a "Wonder Woman cape!" Each day she swoops down and works 20 hours a day on everything from running two thriving businesses, raising two daughters and continuously sowing into her community.

Every now and then folks in "the Heart of the Valley" will watch her muster up enough energy to
run a marathon and play 18 holes of golf, (sometimes all in one day).  She is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has helped raise money and awareness for everything from breast cancer to domestic violence.                                              
Photo Courtesy:  The Huntsville Times
My a personal introduction with Michelda Johnson came in the form one of the busiest seasons in retail, Valentine's Day!  Let's just say I had the eye-opening, one of a kind experience while watching this aggressive, no-nonsense lady who has adopted the mantra of "ain't nobody got time fah dat"embrace the pop culture of Internet sensation "Sweet Brown" as a real tag line to her own life.

February 14th, I watched Michelda somehow miraculously find the time to coordinate a schedule of more than 50 temporary/seasonal employees that included more than a dozen drivers. Together, they successfully arranged, covered, dipped, skewed and delivered, dipped more than 100 pounds of strawberries, pineapples, cantaloupes and apples to more than 2,500 customers like it was no big deal.

Last Sunday Michelda was asked to deliver an inspirational message to the youth of Pleasant Grove CPCA Church where John W. Jude and Pamela Jude are the Pastor and First Lady.  My dear friend and colleague Jannifer Matthews shared this video link with me.   I must confess, Jannifer's email came on a day that was more than challenging.

This incredible video link came at a time when I was fully doubting myself.  Over and over, month after month I have found myself questioning who I am as I continue to pursue my dream of having my own multi-media empire.  The day this video was sent to me I woke up asking 'who are you to try and do this outside of a traditional newsroom and without call letters at the back of your name?'

Michelda's video message (fire-filled sermon) came at a time when I was truly low and seeking a word, a "Rhema word" from God.  I needed a confirmation to "stay the course," to not throw in the towel because that day, my savings and my patience were truly being tested.  Nothing prepared me for how God would answer that prayer.

Before you press play: "first a warning." If you are like me and you think you know Michelda Johnson the businesswoman, brace yourself.  You have seen the "glory," but you truly don't know "her story!"  Michelda's raw, uncut, unashamed demeanor and testimony of God's goodness and "favor" in this video took me aback!  This young, aspiring, minority business owner who has been praised as one of "Huntsville's Most Influential" by the Junior League and every other professional, business organization in North Alabama wasn't concerned about etiquette, decorum or being "prim and proper!"

Michelda delivered her message to the children of Pleasant Grove in a genuine and authentic way that can only be summed up as "real talk!"  Let's just say I decided to check my email in the middle of lunch at Atlanta Bread Company in Huntsville and it wasn't pretty.  I found myself crying, slinging snot and becoming "unglued" by her very words that pierce my spirit and encouraged me all at the same time.  Folks, I'm telling you the "TV lady was getting happy down the bread isle today!"

To literally go from a "six-figure salary" to looking for pennies in Wal-Mart's parking lot? Really?  Wow, what a testimony Michelda!   I never knew and I would have NEVER guessed in a million years that you literally went from "homeless to becoming a successful entrepreneur with businesses that are blessed and truly "highly favored!"

Your message to the children empowered them, but it tore me up! It was life-altering lady.  It came at a time when I was truly low and needed to hear from God.  You truly confirmed for me what I've always suspected--that you truly are "fiercely feminine" and you make me proud to spell my name:

Jannifer thank you for such a special gift that not lifted my spirits, but reminded me of "who" and "whose" I truly am!  God Bless!

                                                                      CLICK HERE TO READ:       
Courtesy: Huntsville Chamber of Commerce
Huntsville Times Article on Michelda Johnson-Edible Arrangements

Sunday, June 2, 2013

GINA BROWN: "Sizzling and Giving You A Reason to Smile"


Gina Brown "Sizzling" This Summer
(NEW ORLEANS, LA.)--Hotter than July!  Music fans get ready for a "double dose" of summer fun that's "sizzling!" Gina Brown, one of the hardest working women in entertainment will burn up the stage and the "airwaves" this summer as she gives you something to "smile about" and move you right out of your seat and dancing in the isles.

Gina Brown and Anutha Level will kick off the first ever Essence Music Festival's "FAMILY FUN DAY" July 4th.  The Louisiana Lottery is a proud sponsor of Essence 2013.  I'm proud to tell you after nearly 20 years in the business, this well deserving artist is finally hitting "lucky 7s!"  Way to go Gina, turn up the heat because New Orleans, Louisiana is about to be on "FIRE!"