ESSENCE is known for being for and about Black America women, but the magazine recently took the show on the road for its first ever global issue.

The August issue was shot on location in Kenya and Tanzania and features everybody’s quirky homegirl, Erykah Badu in a slew of vibrant outfits that pay homage to the region.

This is the first time ESSENCE has shot on location in Africa since 1978, and the magazine is chock full of gorgeous images of both African American and African women, including a beautiful editorial on braids.

Badu unveiled the cover over the weekend during her performance at the 21st annual ESSENCE Festival, a four-day musical extravaganza that also featured Mary J. Blige, Usher, Kendrick Lamar, and Charlie Wilson.


The singer, known for her earthy presence and unconventional style, said she feels a particular connection to the African continent.

“When I just breathe the oxygen, I get real relaxed,” she said in her ESSENCE interview. “I don’t know, but something about the vibrations or the frequency here is kind of.. I remember, you know?”

ESSENCE’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca said the global issue will be the beginning of more international coverage by the magazine.

“As our world widens, we hope to feature more international coverage with greater frequency,” she explained.

What do you think of ESSENCE’s global issue cover? Will you be picking it up when it hits newsstands July 10?

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