Author: Steve Allen |

Ford Motor Company returns as exclusive automotive sponsor of the 2016 ESSENCE Festival®, which kicks off today. For the eighth consecutive year, Ford is giving attendees the opportunity to get up close and personal with its latest lineup of vehicles including the 2017 Ford Fusion and all-new Ford GT supercar.

Now in its 22nd year, ESSENCE Festival continues to be a cultural celebration mixing empowerment and music into one fun-filled weekend. The festival gives Ford the opportunity to demonstrate the company’s Go Further brand promise and showcase its latest vehicle lineup while interacting with consumers in New Orleans.

“Ford continues to support ESSENCE in events like the festival because of our commitment to the African American community,” said Raj Register, manager, Ford multicultural communications. “It’s exciting to have the Ford GT on hand this year, especially coming off its recent win at Le Mans.”

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to test drive the latest Ford lineup including the 2017 Ford Fusion, 2017 Ford Escape and 2016 Ford Explorer. Participants will receive a $750 cash offer on a new Ford vehicle for opting-in to MyFord Magazine. A few lucky participants will have the chance to experience their drive with comedian and The REAL co-host Loni Love.

Ford GT will be front and center at the Ford display. The all-new supercar serves as the pinnacle product for Ford Performance, setting new standards for Ford innovation in light-weighting, aerodynamics and EcoBoost® engine technology.

Ford Warriors in Pink will be on hand for the ESSENCE Festival as well. For each of the first 250 test drives, Warriors in Pink will donate $20 to Young Survival Coalition. 2016 marks Ford’s 22nd year of support in the fight against breast cancer. To date, the company has donated more than $130 million to the cause. The Warriors in Pink line of apparel and accessories is available exclusively at

Ford Credit will also join the festivities, providing attendees information on the car-buying process and financial preparedness.

Finally, because music is an ESSENCE Festival must, Ford is hosting some of the most exciting entertainment and upcoming talent at the Superdome lounge, including Jidenna, Kehlani, Lion Babe, St. Beauty and many others. Ford is also partnering with SiriusXM to bring live interviews from the Ford booth at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center throughout the weekend, with the cast of STARZ Power, Maxwell, Sevyn Streeter, Charlie Wilson and a host of others on the schedule.