Happy Holiday. Day One of the Essence Music Festival kicked off on the Fourth of July.
Rihanna, Kanye West and Chris Brown were some of the artists who performed on the stage at New Orleans Convention Center.
Congrats to directer & producer Tyler Perry.
He was awarded the key to the city by New Orleans Mayor Nagin. Some of the other celebs who attended on Day One were Solange Knowles, Bow Wow, Lebron James and Reverend Al Sharpton.
Essence Music Festival Day 1 Convention Center
In a stark display of his love-hate relationship with the Crescent City, entertainment mogul Tyler Perry kicked off the 14th Essence Music Festival on Friday by receiving a key to the city from Mayor Ray Nagin, then sharing with a packed crowd memories of his troubled childhood in New Orleans. Introducing Perry at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Nagin spoke of the entertainer's phenomenal success in theater, film, television and literature, particularly his unprecedented 100-episode deal with cable network TBS for his show "House of Payne."
"He's one of the few creative people where they just gave him the check and said, 'Here you go. Do whatever you want.' That just does not happen," Nagin said.
When Perry came out, dressed in white linen pants with white loafers and a navy blazer, Nagin offered him a proclamation and an oversized golden key mounted on a wooden plaque.
"I don't know if it opens anything," Nagin cracked, to which Perry responded: "Hibernia?"
"You don't need Hibernia," Nagin said, referring to the former Louisiana-based bank. "You're dealing with some bigger things. You are a native son. This is your city. We are proud of you. We love you, and we wish you the best."
Though Perry, 38, grew up in New Orleans, he moved to Atlanta 15 years ago and has not spoken fondly of his childhood in New Orleans, which included abuse and homelessness.
"I grew up in this great city, and if you haven't been here, I encourage you to get out past the smiles of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter," Perry said, after expressing his gratitude for the city's honors. "There's another New Orleans, faced with poverty and despair."
Referring to his "love-hate" relationship with the city, Perry said he decided to get out of New Orleans after visiting Atlanta for the first time.
"When I went to Atlanta, I saw black people doing well. Not just some people, but everybody," Perry said. "So I packed up my Hyundai and I moved." source