When I heard about the new movie Girls Trip starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, breakout star Tiffany Haddish and my personal favorite Queen Latifah, I was excited. The movie chronicles a group of old girlfriends reconnecting after years and traveling to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Although I had never experienced Essence Festival for myself, I had a feeling the movie would be something special and I started thinking about making the pilgrimage to New Orleans, Louisiana.
You see once a year, every year, brown women from across the globe descend on New Orleans to get together, reconnect and celebrate sisterhood.
Although I’d never been to Essence Festival before, when a few of my great girlfriends told me they were going down to New Orleans to speak and be a part of the festival, I have to say my curiosity grew even more.
I was still on the fence about going before my friend Kimberly Wilson from The Grio, called me up and asked if I wanted to road to trip to New Orleans for Essence Festival. But there is something about a girl’s trip that settles you into an idea. I said yes immediately.
I met my girls in Atlanta; Kimberly Wilson, Natasha S. Alford and Brande Victorian. We picked up our fully loaded Ford Explorer, started the GPS and headed out at 10:30am. Of course we had to make a pitt stop at The Waffle House; so good. What do they put in those waffles?
Then we were off on a four-hour ride of girl talk, Whitney Houston vs Mariah Carey sing offs and of course a trap music session curated by trap queen Brande Victorian. We talked about careers, man troubles, sisterhood and more. By the time we arrived in NOLA I was already feeling connected to my sisters.
We arrived in Nola right in time for Lisa Price’s Carol’s Daughter Style & Taste Dinner. The night was magical. Hidden a way in the upstairs recesses of the Calcasieu private dinning room by Chef Donald Link, we finely dined on some of the best “Nawlins” food all while sipping tequila. Lisa Price who is the founder of Carols Daughter stood up and spoke about the sisterhood at Essence Festival and how she’d been hosting this dinner every year to celebrate that sister love that also created Carol’s Daughter.
The next morning we were up early for shrimp and grits plus chicken and waffles at the Lincoln Luxe Brunch at the Le Meridien New Orleans. The food was delicious and the gift bags were fab.
Still nothing could prepare us for an evening of India.Arie, John Legend, and the queen Diana Ross. What a magical night.
For the next two days we party hopped, checked out sponsored booths, hit the convention center, kicked it with tons of celebrities and more. But it was all of the things that happened in between that made the trip so special. There is just something about being in the South. There is just something about every sister you see in the street stopping to smile and say hi and I love your outfit.
There is something about running into people you haven’t seen in years and telling them in person how great their life looks on instagram. lol And also that you’ve missed them.
There is also something about the pure spiritual experience that only Mary J Blige and Chance The Rapper can bring. We cried with Mary and we had straight up church with Chance The Rapper.
When the weekend was over I was feeling so full and I couldn’t explain exactly why. Nothing profound had happened. But sometimes being surrounded by other empowering women is just what you need. Spending time, sharing laughs and stories with our friends can be transformative. Being surrounded by people who love you and celebrate you is exactly what your soul needs.
So whether it’s a full on Girls trip style vacation or just a get together or brunch don’t forget to make communing with your friends a priority.
The new movie Girls Trip hits theaters this Friday. So grab your girlfriends and make it a girls trip weekend even just to the movies. It’s a laugh out loud funny film. It will be a night you and your girlfriends wont forget. Plus it may be just what you need to destress, and reconnect to whats important.