The ESSENCE Beauty Carnival packed Pier 36 last Saturday and Sunday with thousands of beautiful Black women of all ages who were eager to be seen, get advice, meet the stars and purchase products. The extravaganza was a first for New York City. Sponsored by Aveeno, ESSENCE delivered an immersive experience for all!

It was a time to enjoy the magazine’s curated “Shop ESSENCE” beauty marketplace. Important activities included pampering services; expert hair and makeup tutorials; celeb meet-and-greets; star-studded panels; VIP experiences; giveaways and more. The Weekend’s highlights featured a special presentation to Iman, entrepreneur and CEO of Iman Cosmetics, with the ESSENCE Beauty Carnival Icon award. Attendees also enjoyed special performances by R&B stars Justine Skye and Sevyn Streeter. While spinning the latest sounds and showing off her dance moves, DJ Olivia Dope kept the crowd moving and grooving the entire weekend. ESSENCE’s Global Beauty Director Julee Wilson hosted informative conversations with Grammy award-winning singer Ciara, stylist and fashion architect Misa Hylton, fashion innovator Dapper Dan and more. They engaged audiences with their expertise.

Ciara, who is dropping her new album May 10, advised women, “You can do whatever you want to do. Be patient. No one can close a door that God opens for you. Believe in yourself.”

Faridath Dibousse, the owner/founder of Diba, a new makeup made with jojoba oil and quinoa extract, used to suffer with acne. She developed her Cushion Foundation product line because she couldn’t find makeup for her skin. It is available at

For women who want to grow in a traditional business environment, stylist Misa Hilton recommended, “You must be in the room when/where the decisions are being made in the company. If there is not a chair in the room for you, bring your own chair.” In the beginning, she had a hard time. No one would lend her clothes to dress her clients so she began making clothes herself. There was a time when folks didn’t like her dressing her clients in big hoop earrings. Producers were always asking her to use a different earring. She simply told then “No.” “Stand in your power and don’t let anything or anyone stop you,” she preached. Founder of the Misa Hylton Fashion Academy, Misa realized she made it when she worked with Queen B and Lil’ Kim.

Dapper Dan caters to the rappers and used to keep his shop opened 24 hours a day to service his clientele in Harlem. “Technology is key in the fashion industry today,” he said. “Know what new technology is being used by designers. Learn how to use it. Look around and see how you want to look.”

Natural hair and lifestyle influencer Whitney White, who uses Aweeno body wash, moisturizer and facemasks, talked about living your best life. “It’s all about feeling and being happy in your skin. You can accomplish anything, if you are feeling right. Clean water, proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep are essential. Keep it simple. Figure out your own formula. Relationships must be healthy ones, but get to know yourself. Self-care every day goes a long way.” Additional beauty influencers who hit the stage throughout the weekend to share their beauty tips included Jackie Aina, beauty icon/activist; Yandy Smith, entrepreneur and culture curator; Elle Varner, singer; Felicia Walker, beauty and skincare expert; Shani Crowe, artist; and Christina Brown, digital influencer.