Black Excellence Brunch honored Ashanti, Pinky Cole and Dee-1 during Essence

The Black Excellence Brunch honored R&B artist Ashanti, Pinky Cole and Dee-1 during Essence Festival
Black Excellence Brunch honored Ashanti, Pinky Cole and Dee-1 during Essence
Ashanti and Trell Thomas, founder of The Black Excellence Brunch (Photo courtesy McDowell’s Branding Group)

The ESSENCE Festival edition of the iconic Black Excellence Brunch was held on Sunday, July 3rd, 2022, and was sponsored by Hallmark Mahogany and Cantu at the historic Treme Market Branch in New Orleans, LA. The brunch honored the princess of Hip Hop & R&B, Ashanti and is one of the most anticipated and exclusive brunches during the weekend of ESSENCE Festival.  After a two-year hiatus, due to the pandemic, the private brunch returned to New Orleans with a bang! Notable guests in attendance included Jordin Sparks, Malinda Williams, recording artist Major, and others!

As guests arrived to the brunch they were greeted with a glass of champagne and entered an authentic New Orleans trolley photo activation. The founder of the brunch, Trell Thomas, kept the tradition by leading the Second Line experience with the sounds of the One Shot Brass Band.  Guests enjoyed networking, music, and an amazing New Orleans style brunch with signature cocktails provided by Herradura Tequila.


The Black Excellence Brunch also presented awards to rapper Dee-1 with the Culture Award, Pinky Cole received the Trailblazer Award, and singer Ashanti was honored with the Icon Award. Ashanti and Thomas wrapped the event with a fireside chat about Ashanti’s impact on music, her new book, and new ventures in the tech industry.

“We are thrilled to honor Ashanti at this tentpole Black Excellence Brunch. She is a living legend and shining example of Black Excellence. She has broken barriers, blazed trails for others and her influence continues to inspire across generations,” says Thomas.


The Black Excellence Brunch is an empowering event series established to connect young people of color from all walks of life. While being a South Carolina native, Thomas modeled the event after his childhood Sunday dinner experiences in the South, to embody the tradition of Sunday Dinners. After years of celebrating black culture in Los Angeles, California, in 2019, Thomas decided to bring it down to the south in New Orleans, Louisiana during the ESSENCE Festival.

Photo gallery courtesy McDowell’s Branding Group

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