Backbeat: Emeli Sandé Captivates At Essence Black Women In Music

(From left) Shawn Thompson, Lincoln Multicultural Marketing, Michelle Ebanks, president of ESSENCE Communications, Emeli Sandé, Vanessa Bush, Editor-In-Chief of ESSENCE Magazine, Cori Murray, Entertainment Editor of ESSENCE Magazine, at the ESSENCE Black Women In Music celebration.

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A soul-stirring performance by honoree Emeli Sandé capped what’s become a popular GRAMMY Week tradition: Essence magazine’s Black Women in Music celebration. Now in its fifth year, the annual salute to rising female artists last night (Jan. 22) warmed up an enthusiastic crowd at new West Hollywood venue 1 OAK -- former Sunset Strip venue the Key Club.

(From left) Shawn Thompson, Lincoln Multicultural Marketing, Vanessa Bush, Editor-In-Chief of ESSENCE Magazine and Michelle Ebanks, president of ESSENCE Communications, in front of the Lincoln MKC.Picture Group

Sandé’s short but spirited performance included her signature hits “Next to Me” and “My Kind of Love,” plus an appearance by one of the singer/songwriter’s frequent collaborators, Naughty Boy (“Wonder”). Essence director of entertainment Cori Murray hosted the evening.

Also in the house: Essence president Michelle Ebanks and editor-in-chief Vanessa K. Bush, Atlantic’s president of black music Michael Kyser, BET president of music programming and specials Stephen Hill (spotted dancing feverishly to “Poison” and other hits spun by DJ Kiss), Anthony Hamilton manager Eli Davis, singers Tank, Goapele (sporting a chic, short blonde ‘do) and current GRAMMY nominee Chrisette Michele, Interscope urban publicity chief Yvette Gayle, the Recording Academy’s West regional director Kelley Purcell, Chris Brown manager Tina Davis and Shawn Thompson, manager of multicultural marketing for Lincoln Motor Company.

Leona Lewis poses in front of the Lincoln MKC at the ESSENCE Black Women In Music event.Picture Group

Lincoln marked its fifth year as the presenting sponsor for Black Women in Music.

A few hours prior to the event, Thompson and Essence execs hosted an intimate, invite-only luncheon in West Hollywood. In addition to meeting Sandé, the gathered print and online journalists were introduced to Lincoln’s newest vehicle, the Lincoln MKC. Going on sale later this year, the model doubles as the focal point of Lincoln’s new “Journey” campaign.  Sandé is among a select few featured in the ad campaign (previewed at the luncheon), which revolves around the themes of inspiration, entrepreneurship and people who have followed their dreams.

(From left) Chrisette Michele, Shawn Thompson, Lincoln Multicultural Marketing, and Michelle Williams pose at the celebration.Picture Group

Noted Thompson, “We’re not just the vehicle you take to the airport. [Lincoln] is on a journey to reintroduce ourselves to African-American consumers.”