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Essence Fest, event promoter make-up following legal dispute

Essence announced they reached a resolution with The Lit Diaries on Tuesday.

NEW ORLEANS — Essence Festival and event promoter The Lit Diaries have made up following their legal dispute.

Lawyers representing Essence Fest issued a cease-and-desist letter to Tamkia Newhouse, Delphine Legacy Media Co., Lit Diaries, LLC, and Baldwin & Co Friday, saying it used its trademark to mislead customers for events during Essence Fest.

The event was supposed to showcase Black authors and artists at a local bookstore, Baldwin & Co.

WWL-TV learned Baldwin & Co. was dropped from the lawsuit on Sunday night.

Essence announced they reached a resolution with The Lit Diaries on Tuesday.

"The allegations against our company were not accurate and we have since spoken with the Essence organizers to bring some understanding to the situation and bring more light to the Clean Zone Ordinance," The Lit Diaries officials said. 

The City's "Clean Zone" ordinance was expanded to cover more area this year, but some councilmembers said the intention to prohibit vendors from certain areas during festivals backfired.  

Essence and The Lit Diaries released the following statement: 

Both Essence and Lit Diaries want to take an opportunity to address the unfortunate events that took place during the Essence Festival of Culture. We recognize that mistakes were made on both sides and are actively collaborating with the parties involved to rectify the situation at hand. We have worked diligently to untangle the multiple issues that have played out the past few days.

After engaging in a deeper conversation with Essence, Lit Diaries has gained a clearer understanding of the factors that led them to pursue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Through this dialogue, we have come to appreciate the complexities and considerations involved in our decision-making processes.

Through open communication and a cooperative approach, we have reached a resolution that we believe serves our collective interests, primarily among them, supporting and serving Black people and Black businesses. Our priority is to learn from this experience and continuously improve our processes. We value the support from our local community, the greater public and other impacted parties and are implementing measures to prevent similar issues in the future. We remain dedicated to delivering the highest service standards and maintaining strong relationships with all our stakeholders.

Upon reflection and discussion, it is clear that Essence’s actions were not aimed at shutting down the Lit Diaries event. Instead, Essence sought to protect consumers from any misleading promotion of the event and to maintain their intellectual property rights and brand integrity. Lit Diaries understands Essence’s commitment to safeguarding its assets, not only for itself but the community at large. 

This deeper conversation has allowed us to develop a stronger foundation for prioritizing community over commerce. We look forward to continuing our dialogue and moving forward on a positive note. 

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