The annual Essence Festival of Culture took place last week in New Orleans, and it was a riot of creativity, culture, music, history, and pleasure. To further demonstrate our dedication to the Black communities we serve and the visitors we respect, Target was pleased to return to Essence Fest in 2023 as the fest’s official mass merchandise retail partner.
A powerful partnership
With the 50th anniversary of hip-hop music and culture as its unifying theme in 2023, Essence Fest attracted the greatest single-day attendance of any event in North America for a day of celebration, connection, and entertainment. And Target was there, too, with their interactive Target House Party experience, pumping up festivalgoers with DJs, dancing, and special celebrity appearances by House Party star Tisha Campbell, Target Fam host and YouTube star Terrell Grice, chart-topping musician Nivea, and music icon Kelly Rowland. And we highlighted the success of Black business owners by giving away fun products from accessible companies started by people of color.
But Target wasn’t just there for the festivities; we supported the event to demonstrate our dedication to the Black community and our desire to celebrate the Black women who make Essence Fest the cultural summer festival that it is. And some of our most trusted allies were there to help us get the word out that we support Black business owners and artists:
- Tabitha Brown moderated an audience-pleasing fireside talk with comic KevOnStage. There, she made the momentous announcement that her best-selling vegan food line would be carried indefinitely at Target beginning in the first few months of 2024.
- The Bronx-based, Black-owned culinary collective Ghetto Gastro hosted a fun cooking demo of breakfast foods in collaboration with Coca-Cola, during which they distributed free samples, gave away a branded appliance, and answered questions from the audience.
- Be Rooted’s Jasmin Foster and The Doux’s Maya Smith were two more of the company’s partners who were people of color.
Celebrating Black women and entrepreneurism
Target‘s REACH initiative was bolstered throughout the Essence Festival weekend with the company’s Community Impact event. This event highlighted the many ways in which Black women have contributed to the New Orleans economy, and it outlined best practices and ideas for future growth in collaboration with Propeller, a nonprofit business incubator aimed at people of color.
Kiera Fernandez, Target’s senior vice president of talent & change and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) officer, moderated a 45-minute panel discussion with Black women entrepreneurs as part of Propeller’s Impact Accelerator program to demonstrate how we are establishing genuine relationships among Black business owners, Black leaders at Target, and the larger community.