HBO Maxs Scene in Black Sets Lineup of Activations During Essence Fest, Including Rap Sh!t Screening (EXCLUSIVE)

HBO Max’s Scene in Black, which celebrates Black creators and audiences alike, has scheduled a lineup of activations over the July 4th weekend in New Orleans.

Coinciding with Essence Festival, marquee events include a welcome mixer spotlighting the creative community of New Orleans and previewing the upcoming HBO documentary, “Katrina Babies,” with the film’s director Edwards Buckles Jr. Scene in Black will also fete Issa Rae’s upcoming HBO Max comedy series “Rap Sh!t” with a special screening, a panel discussion featuring Rae, who created and executive produces the show, alongside showrunner and executive producer Syreeta Singleton and stars Aida Osman and KaMillion. That event will be followed with an after-party at the Ace Hotel.

HBO Max’s Power of Visibility initiative, which provides a platform for multicultural and behind-the-scenes talent within HBO and HBO Max programming, will also have a presence at the festival with a brunch event and panel conversation. Buckles and Singleton will appear on the panel with “The Hype” showrunner and executive producer Rikki Hughes and “Sweet Life” director Joe Guidry. The lineup also includes a live hair demo and discussion from “Rap Sh!t” hair department head Felicia Leatherwood and Sienna Naturals co-founder Hannah Diop. (Rae is also a co-founder of the natural hair care brand.)

“We are thrilled to have Scene in Black on the ground in New Orleans during the 4th of July weekend,” stated Jackie Gagne, HBO Max and HBO’s SVP multicultural marketing.

“Being here gives us the opportunity to engage directly with our community,” Gagne noted. “Our activations will consist of previews to upcoming programming and conversations with talent and creatives that we hope will build connections and inspire current and future creatives.”

With a focus on spotlighting representation, elevating experiences and cultivating community while strengthening brand connection with Black audiences, Scene in Black is a part of a larger portfolio of HBO Max’s initiatives including HBO Max Human By Orientation, and HBO Max Pa’lante!. These audience-first initiatives are centered in diversity and work to engage multicultural viewers through relatable storytelling and cultural programming at key moments and notable industry events throughout the year.

A full overview of the weekend’s festivities is below:

FRIDAY, JULY 1

Welcome Mixer
As our kick-off event for the weekend, and to celebrate the upcoming HBO documentary “Katrina Babies,” HBO Max will curate a mixer to celebrate and uplift the creative community of New Orleans. Working alongside Edwards Buckles Jr. (director, “Katrina Babies”), this event will bring together creatives to network, celebrate one another and highlight the impact of the NoLa community.

SATURDAY, JULY 2

HBO Max POV Brunch & Panel Conversation
HBO Max POV (Power of Visibility) will host a conversation over brunch highlighting behind the scenes talent, their personal stories and experiences, career trajectory and their respective roles on relevant HBO Max programming.

Attending Talent: Syreeta Singleton (showrunner/executive producer, HBO Max’s “Rap Sh!t”), Rikki Hughes (showrunner/executive producer, HBO Max’s “The Hype”), Edward Buckles Jr. (director, HBO Documentary’s “Katrina Babies”), and Joe Guidry (director, HBO Max “Sweet Life”)

Curls + Convo ft: Felicia Leatherwood (Hair Department Head, HBO Max’s “Rap Sh!t”) & Hannah Diop (Co-Founder, Sienna Naturals)
Felicia Leatherwood and Hannah Diop will conduct a live hair demo and discussion that celebrates Black women, diverse hair textures and hairstyles. The event will also feature giveaways from Sienna Naturals.

Rap Sh!t Screening and Panel Conversation
We’ll bring Issa Rae’s new comedy series, “Rap Sh!t,” to New Orleans with an exclusive screening and conversation featuring the creators and stars of the series.

Attending Talent: ​​Issa Rae (Creator/Executive Producer), Syreeta Singleton (Showrunner/Executive Producer), Aida Osman (Shawna), and KaMillion (Mia)

“Rap Sh!t” at The Ace Hotel
To close out the night, Scene in Black will bring the vibes of HBO Max’s “Rap Sh!t” to life with a takeover at the Ace Hotel, featuring a DJ set and surprise musical guest.

Attending Talent: ​​Issa Rae (Creator/Executive Producer), Syreeta Singleton (Showrunner/Executive Producer), Aida Osman (Shawna), and KaMillion (Mia)

SUNDAY, JULY 3

Scene in Black x RNBHouseParty: Creator’s Brunch
Scene in Black, in partnership with RNBHouseParty, will host a creator’s brunch, bringing together influencers and tastemakers for a weekend close out celebration.

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