2018 Essence Festival

Essence Festival

New York, NY —

As a major sponsor of the 2018 Essence Festival July 5-8 in New Orleans, Louisiana, AT&T hosted Events Bridging Connectivity, Technology & Culture including the Humanity of Connection Series

Among the highlights included The Humanity of Connection featuring The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige, and other key events celebrating the historic achievements of African Americans

The 2018 Essence Festival® took place July 5 – 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and among the highlights presented by major sponsor AT&T included events that recognized the importance of human connectivity in our everyday lives. For the first time in nearly two decades, Essence magazine is a fully Black-owned publication under the leadership of Richelieu Dennis, Chairman, Essence Communications Inc. and Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. Each year hundreds of thousands of attendees travel to the Crescent City to participate in one of the nation’s largest live events in which the rich culture and legacy of Black women in business, communications, politics, entertainment, community service, and more is celebrated. This is a particularly special year as the City of New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial – marking 300 years of food, fun, and festivals. In this vibrant 300-year history, no one has contributed more to the fabric of our unique culture than Black women.

The four-day cultural festival, in partnership with AT&T, produced an experience that gives attendees both power and purpose. With Black women running in high numbers for political office and using their leverage as a catalyst for change, AT&T is amplifying the achievements of Black culture to accelerate inclusion in technology. John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, along with Claudia Jones, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications, AT&T Services, Inc., and Tanya Lombard, head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances for AT&T, all had speaking roles reaffirming the importance of technology and inclusion in today’s marketplace.

Tanya Lombard, head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances for AT&T, was born and raised in New Orleans and has focused her life work on helping generate resources for the beloved city she’s never left, including providing millions of dollars to rebuild parks in the city after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 where she worked on the ground throughout the rebuilding process. According to Tanya Lombard: “I conceptualized “The Humanity of Connection” series to celebrate the power of human connectivity and the technologies that chronicle and intertwine the remarkable achievements of African Americans.” The Humanity of Connection featured the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and acclaimed actress Mary J. Blige who was the headliner for “The Humanity of Connection” brunch on Sunday, July 8th and local awards went to New Orleans influencers including Former New Orleans First Lady Sybil Haydel Morial and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

AT&T events at the 2018 Essence Festival® included an Empowerment Experience Conversation with African American influencers to discuss successes and challenges within the African American community and a Day of Service featuring AT&T leadership and AT&T Activations throughout the Superdome. According to Tanya Lombard: “AT&T was pleased to be a major sponsor of the 2018 Essence Festival and we had important conversations in New Orleans about increasing the power of Black women in technology while celebrating the historic achievements of women of color in fashion, media, business and more.” Tanya Lombard was on the 2018 Essence Magazine 100 Woke Women’s List.

Essence Festival

(L-R) Democratic Nominee for Governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Bernice King, President & Founder, National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton, & Ms. Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner

Essence Festival

(L-R) Pennsylvania State Senator, Vincent Hughes with wife and Actress, Sherly Lee Ralph

Essence Festival

(L-R) Founder & President, National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton, AT&T’s Head of Strategic Initiatives & Multi-cultural Engagement, Tanya Lombard, and President, Essence, Michelle Ebanks

Essence Festival

(L-R) Essence Owner, Richelieu Dennis, AT&T’s CEO, Communications, John Donovan, and Founder & President, National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton