DALLAS, June 28, 2023

AT&T Celebrates Connectivity, Community, and Culture at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival

AT&T brings immersive experience of fashion, music, and inspiration; plus supports New Orleans students impacted by the digital divide through free laptop distribution.


Key Takeaways:

  • AT&T is connecting the Black community to greater possibility through a celebration of fashion, technology, innovation, music and community at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture.
  • More than 500 laptops to be distributed to New Orleans students and families as part of AT&T’s commitment to help bridge the digital divide.

What’s the news?

AT&T* Dream in Black will celebrate Black culture and Black history at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, taking place from June 29 - July 3 in New Orleans, LA.  We’re creating meaningful festival experiences and exciting activations across fashion, technology, innovation and community to inspire greater possibility.

In addition to engaging with festival goers onsite at ESSENCE, we’re showing up for the New Orleans community. A total of 500 refurbished laptops will be given to students and families as part of our nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide.

The work in NOLA doesn’t stop there. Later this year, we’ll open an AT&T Connected Learning Center in New Orleans at the National Urban League where local students will have access to high-speed internet and Wi-Fi, digital literacy classes, and computers.

Why is this important?

The ESSENCE festival serves as an ideal platform for AT&T Dream in Black to celebrate Black history, while strengthening our diversity and inclusion efforts, through activations and experiences reminding the community that “success can look like anything that we can dream.”

Throughout the weekend-long festival, we’ll host a series of daily performances and engaging panel discussions that celebrate our Black Future Makers, Rising Future Makers, Emerging Voices, talented musicians, and influential changemakers. The experiences will focus on creating seamless and high-speed moments of connectivity. Highlights include:

  • Emerging Fashion Panel: In collaboration with Harlem Fashion Row, an organization dedicated to showcasing Black fashion designers, along with their CEO Brandice Daniel, a Black Future Maker, the panel will spotlight emerging designers of color. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to be part of the show and take home a one-of-a-kind piece.
  • Digital Countdown Surprise & Delight: Every day, the digital clock featured in the AT&T Dream in Black digital playground will begin a countdown. As the sonic sounds, surprise and delight moments will happen throughout the day including musical performances, merch drops, prizes, swag giveaways, treats, and more.
  • BLKtopia STEM Corner: Discover the future of technology at the BLKtopia STEM Corner, where you can learn to build and program robots from AT&T’s VP of Automation, David C Williams.
  • Girls United: Delve into the world of HBCU women entrepreneurs, with a segment that showcases how the Rising Future Makers program empowers students and nurtures their dreams.
  • Global Black Economic Forum: Stop by to hear first-hand about AT&T's commitment to bridging the digital divide through Connected Learning Centers and partnerships with third-party organizations.
  • AT&T Twitch: Near and far, everyone is invited to participate in an engaging fireside chat streamed on AT&T Twitch, featuring Krystalogy, as she shares her gaming experiences and emphasize the importance of diversity and female representation in the gaming space.
  • Black Leaders and Talent: Engage with powerhouse talent and leaders in the Black community, including Wale, LaRussel, Keri Hilson, Tabitha Brown, Kofi Soriboe, J Alphonse Nicholson, Terrence J, and more

While we celebrate Black culture and community at ESSENCE, we’re also showing up and supporting New Orleans families that don’t have access to high-speed connectivity – an issue known as the digital divide. In New Orleans alone, it’s estimated that more than 1,800 K-12 students don’t have access to the internet. Our laptop distribution is part of the nationwide AT&T Connected Learning initiative. This ties into our $2 billion commitment from 2021- 2023 to help address the digital divide through internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption.

What are people saying?

"We believe in the power of connection and the potential that lies within every individual," said Michelle Jordan, chief diversity officer, AT&T. "Through our Dream in Black platform, we celebrate the culture and the creators who shape it. Being at ESSENCE allows us to be part of important cultural conversations and support and empower the Black community."

“For today’s students and families, connectivity is the new pen and paper. That’s why we’re thrilled to help provide hundreds of laptops to students and families in New Orleans,” said Mylayna Albright, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility, AT&T. “Providing quality, free digital resources to the community is just one of the ways we’re helping to close the digital divide."

To learn more, visit AT&T Dream in Black.


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