Here’s How Target and Essence Are Partnering to Deliver Black Joy — Starting with Essence Fest 2022

April 28, 2022 - Article reads in
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A collage of images of women at the Essence Festival of Culture with the message, It’s Black Joy for Me!
Photos by David Willems Photography and ESSENCE Communications Inc.

Building meaningful connections with our Black guests, communities and team members? It’s a huge part of making sure everyone feels welcome at Target — something we are all striving toward every day. It’s also why we’re deepening our longstanding partnership with Essence, the historic media, tech and commerce company known for empowering Black women.

Building belonging

Our multi-year partnership will kick off this summer with Target’s sponsorship of the annual Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, the largest per day attendance of any festival in the U.S., and include print and digital content, advertising, sponsorships and other live experiences.

“Target and Essence have a shared mission to foster Black joy, and the Essence Festival is an incredible opportunity to build an experience that celebrates Black women, honors their role in defining culture and amplifies the joy and energy of the community coming together,” says Maurice Cooper, senior vice president of marketing, Target. “The Festival is an important part of Target’s multi-year partnership with Essence, which will include storytelling and experiences for years to come, and demonstrates our deep commitment to investing in Black-owned media.”

A shared mission

The theme for the 27th annual Essence Festival of Culture centers on Black joy, which is also the cornerstone of Target’s Black Beyond Measure campaign supporting Black-owned and founded brands. It’s one of the many ways we’re fostering relationships with the Black community and working toward our mission to deliver joy to all guests. Together, we will create compelling content and experiences that evoke exploration of Black-owned businesses while uplifting and sharing stories of our guests, team members, change-makers and artists working to create change together within the Target and Essence ecosystems.

“At Essence we believe that the Black woman is the CEO of home, community, and culture. We spotlight and strengthen how she influences all culture, give her access and acumen to achieve equity and give her license to celebrate individual and collective achievements, unapologetically,” says Caroline Wanga, CEO of Essence. "Target’s long-standing brand influence on culture, home and community — by way of the largest festival in the nation by per day attendance — powerfully fortifies our collective intent to be in the Black community, together.”

Another step forward

Our partnership with Essence also marks significant progress toward Target’s Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) commitments, including spending at least 5% of our annual media budget with Black-owned media and more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses. It’s also another big step forward for our diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Read more on Target’s REACH areas of focus and our progress on Target Forward, our sustainability strategy that includes commitments to accelerate equity and opportunity for Target’s team, partners and communities.

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