For years, R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has packed the smaller stages at the Essence Music Festival. This year, though, Hamilton scored a closing Sunday night spot on the festival’s main stage, something he’s been seeking ever since he got a taste of the event.
“So many years have gone by with me wanting to be on that stage,” Hamilton told The Associated Press. “This is such a huge accomplishment for me that didn’t come easily.”
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, wearing a flowing tangerine-colored dress, opened her show with “(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher” “Natural Woman” and “Think.” Midway through her performance, she left the stage so the festival could pay special tribute to her life and career as part of a ceremony where she received its Power Award. A video montage and brief history of her career was played for the audience before she returned wearing an olive- and gold-colored dress.
“We honor Ms. Aretha Franklin for having the greatest voice of all time,” said Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc.