THE ESSENCE & GROWN-ISH STUDENT LOAN PAYOFF CONTEST

OFFICIAL RULES

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

ALL DISPUTES WILL BE RESOLVED SOLELY BY BINDING ARBITRATION AND ENTRANTS WAIVE THE ABILITY TO BRING CLAIMS IN A CLASS ACTION FORMAT.

CONTEST ENTRY PERIOD: The ESSENCE & Grown-ish Student Loan Payoff Contest (the “Contest”) begins at 12:00:01 AM Eastern Time (“ET”) on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 and ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on Thursday, April 30, 2020 (the “Contest Period”).

ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, who are age 18 or older at the time of entry. Void in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, outside the U.S., and wherever else prohibited by law. Employees of ESSENCE Communications, Inc. (the "Sponsor"), Freeform, US Sweepstakes and Fulfillment Co. (the “Contest Administrator”) and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, and the immediate family members (spouses, parents, children and siblings and their respective spouses) of, and those living in the same household of each, are not eligible to enter. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

HOW TO ENTER: During the Contest Period, eligible participants must visit www.essence.com/grownish (the “Contest Website”), complete the entry form in its entirety including their contact information, student loan balance as of the time of entry, the name of the school they attend(ed), and either (i) upload a video up to 60 seconds in length where they describe how paying off their debt could help them live their dreams (a “Video”), or (ii) upload a photo of themselves (a “Photo”) and provide an essay of up to 300 words describing how paying off their debt could help them live their dreams (an “Essay”), and submit as instructed (the “Entry”).

Each Entry must include an original Essay and Photo or Video. Entries submitted with an Essay, Photo or Video that has already been submitted will be disqualified.

There is a limit of one (1) Entry per person per email address. All Entries must be received between Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 12:00:01 AM ET and Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 11:59:59 PM ET. All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Once an Entry is submitted it cannot be modified by an Entrant. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, illegible, garbled, inaccurate, invalid, misdirected, undelivered, or delayed Entries. No altered or incomplete submissions will be accepted.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS & CONDITIONS: All Entries must comply with the following minimum guidelines to be eligible:

By submitting an Entry, the Entrant understands and grants to the Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive worldwide license to use his/her Entry, Essay, Photo, Video, name, recordings, hometown and likeness on the Sponsor’s various websites and social media sites and in advertising and/or promotional activities worldwide without compensation, permission or notification. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to alter, change or modify any Entry, which includes the Essay, Photo or Video. Entries must be truthful and Sponsor reserves the right to verify information contained in the Entry. Sponsor not responsible for any invalid or incorrect information provided by an entrant.

By submitting an Entry, Entrant warrants and represents that: (a) Entry does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other legal or moral rights of any person or entity; (b) Entrant has obtained written permission from any person who may appear in the Photo or Video; (c) Entrant owns all rights to the Essay and Photo or Video, including without limitation, copyrights, and has received prior written permission from a third party if any Photo/Video was photographed/recorded by someone other than the Entrant him/herself; and (d) Entrant will indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor, Freeform, Administrator and related entities, agents and assigns from any claims and damages (including reasonable attorneys' fees) arising from or relating to the breach or alleged breach of his/her representations and warranties herein, the Entry, or Entrant’s conduct in creating the Entry, the acceptance or use of any prize or otherwise in connection with this Promotion.

ENTRIES POSTED TO THE PROMOTION WEBSITE ARE THE VIEWS/OPINIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL ENTRANT AND DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SPONSOR IN ANY MANNER.

JUDGING AND WINNER DETERMINATION: All eligible Entries received during the Contest Period will be judged by a panel appointed by the Sponsor, who shall use the criteria set forth below to determine each Entry’s total judging score (the “Judging Score”):

  1. Connection to theme (40%)
  2. Entrant’s expression of their dream (30%)
  3. Originality/Creativity (30%)

The three (3) Entries that receive the highest Judging Score based on the judging criteria will each be deemed a potential finalist (each, a “Finalist”) and potential Finalist Prize winner. The Entry that receives the highest Judging Score based on the judging criteria will be deemed the potential Grand Prize winner; the Entry that receives the second-highest Judging Score based on the judging criteria will be deemed the potential First Prize winner; the Entry that receives the third-highest Judging Score based on the judging criteria will be deemed the potential Second Prize winner. Finalists will not be notified of their status as a Grand, First or Second Prize winner until the Announcement Event as described below.

In the unlikely event of a tie, the tied Entry with the highest score in Criterion A, Connection to theme, will be deemed the potential Finalist/winner. If additional tie breakers are needed, the tie-breaking mechanism above will be used; however, instead of the highest score in Criterion A determining the potential Finalist/winner from among the tied entries, the highest scores in each of Criteria B through C, in sequence (to the extent needed) will determine the potential Finalist/winner. In the event additional tiebreakers are needed, all tied Entries will be judged by a separate panel of judges using the judging criteria above.

FINALIST NOTIFICATION AND VERIFICATION: Potential Finalists will be contacted by the Administrator by email or phone on/around May 21, 2020, and will be required to sign and return, within seven (7) days of notification, an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Waiver, an IRS W-9 Form, proof of his/her student loan balance to Sponsor’s satisfaction, and where allowable, a Publicity Release (collectively, "the Releases"). These Releases will require the Finalist Prize winners to furnish his/her Social Security Number for the sole purpose of tax reporting, as required by law. Travel companion of winner will also be required to sign a Travel Companion Liability & Publicity Release. Noncompliance will result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected. Trip must be taken on dates specified by Sponsor or prize will be forfeited in its entirety.

Noncompliance will result in disqualification and the Entrant with the next highest Judging Score will be deemed a potential Finalist. If a potential Finalist is otherwise eligible under these Official Rules, but is nevertheless deemed a minor in his or her state of primary residence, the potential Finalist’s parent or legal guardian will be required to execute and return the Releases on minor’s behalf and such parent or legal guardian must accompany Finalist as his/her travel companion on the Finalist Prize trip.

Finalists may also be required to submit to a background check to confirm eligibility and help ensure that the use of any such person in advertising or publicity for the Contest will not bring Sponsor into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or reflect unfavorably on the Contest or Sponsor, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify a potential winner on the basis of the findings resulting from such background check or if a potential winner fails to properly authorize and/or provide the required information in connection with such background check.

GRAND, FIRST AND SECOND PRIZE WINNER DETERMINATION AND ANNOUNCEMENT:

Finalists will attend an event during the Finalist Prize trip at the 2020 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, LA where the Sponsor will announce which Finalist is the winner of the Grand, First and Second Prizes (the “Announcement Event”).

The potential Grand, First and Second Prize winners will be required to sign and return, within five (5) days of notification, an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Waiver, an IRS W-9 Form and where allowable, a Publicity Release. Noncompliance will result in disqualification and the Entry who received the next highest total judging score from will be deemed the potential winner. Grand, First and Second Prizes will be awarded within approximately 45 days after verification.

PRIZES/APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE (“ARV”):

Finalists must be available for the Finalist Prize trip to be eligible to receive a Grand, First or Second Prize.

PRIZE CONDITIONS: Prizes are not redeemable for cash. Prizes are not assignable nor transferable. No substitution is permitted except if prize is unavailable, in which case a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded. No cash in lieu of prizes and no exchange or substitution of prizes, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsor or if there is any prohibition on Sponsor making a payment directly to winner’s school or bank/financial institution holding such winner’s qualified student loan. Any other incidental expenses on prize not specified herein are the winner’s sole responsibility. If a prize notification or prize is returned as undeliverable, or if winner is found to be ineligible or not in compliance with these rules that winner will be disqualified, and the Entrant with the next highest Judging Score will be deemed the potential winner.

All travel related expenses, including but not limited to, ground transportation to and from home, taxes, gratuities, incidentals, upgrades, insurance, service charges, airport surcharges, departure taxes, hotel, resort or property fees, luggage fees, food & beverage and personal expenses such as telephone/Internet charges, and gift shop purchases are the sole responsibility of prize winner. Winner and travel companion must travel on same itinerary. Winner and travel companion must have valid photo ID and any other required documentation prior to departure. Prize must be used on dates specified or prize will be forfeited. Dates are subject to change. Travel is subject to availability.

Sponsor will, in its sole discretion, determine which airport is closest to the Finalist’s home. In the event the Finalist’s residence is close enough to New Orleans, LA such that air transportation is deemed by Sponsor in its sole discretion to be unnecessary, the Grand Prize will not include air transportation from such Finalist’s residence and no other substitution or compensation will be provided in lieu thereof. The Finalist and his/her travel companion are responsible for obtaining any travel insurance (and all other forms of insurance) that they may wish to obtain (at their own expense) and hereby acknowledge that the Sponsor has not and will not obtain or provide travel insurance or any other form of insurance.

Photo identification and credit card or cash deposit may be required at any time for incidental charges (e.g., room service, use of telephone/IT services, laundry and all other optional extra services not provided in the Finalist Prize). If Finalist elects to travel or partake in the Finalist Prize with no travel companion, no additional compensation will be awarded. All hotel reservations are based on availability and all holidays are excluded. Accommodations are subject to availability at time of reservation. Blackout dates, advance booking requirements and travel restrictions may apply. Availability is subject to factors such as weather, seasonality and space availability. Reservations are subject to availability. If weather or other incident or conditions beyond the control of the Sponsor affects the ability for winner and his/her travel companion to redeem any portion of prize during the scheduled date and time, then the Sponsor shall have no further obligation to the winner and/or travel companion other than to supply the remaining elements of the prize package minus the unused portion of prize. Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitution or any act or omissions whatsoever by the air carriers, hotels, venue operators, transportation companies, prize providers or any other persons providing any prize-related services or accommodations. Sponsor is not liable for expenses incurred as a consequence of flight cancellation/delay. No refund or compensation will be made in the event of the cancellation or delay of any transportation or other prize element except at the sole and absolute discretion of Sponsor. If for any reason whatsoever, winner and/or travel companions are unable to travel after all travel arrangements have been made and paid, the Sponsor shall have no further obligation to the winner. If Grand Prize is forfeited prior to Sponsor finalizing and paying for travel, and there is sufficient time to notify an alternate winner, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner in a separate random drawing from among all non-winning eligible entries. Winner and travel companion are responsible for obtaining the proper travel documentation (e.g., valid photo ID and/or passport with a minimum validity 6 months after the date of return) prior to travel. Winner’s travel companion must be legal U.S. resident, 18 years or older and the age of majority in his/her state of residence and must complete and return a Travel Companion Liability & Publicity Release prior to travel as noted above.

In the event a winner or his/her travel companion engages in behavior that, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, is obnoxious or threatening, illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the trip early, whole or in part, and send the winner and his/her travel companion home with no further obligation. In the event a winner engages in behavior during travel that (as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion) is illegal, tortious, or subjects winner to arrest or detention, Sponsor shall have no obligation to pay any damages, fees, fines, judgments or other costs or expenses of any kind whatsoever incurred by winner as a result of such conduct. SPONSOR SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURIES, DEATH, PROPERTY DAMAGE, OR OTHER DAMAGES OR EXPENSES RESULTING FROM OR ARISING OUT OF ANY TRAVEL RELATED TO THE PRIZE OR ANY OTHER ASPECT OF GRAND PRIZE WINNER’S ACCEPTANCE OR USE OF THE PRIZE.

In the event that the 2020 ESSENCE Festival or Announcement Event does not take place as scheduled, for reasons such as cancellation, preemption or postponement, or for any reason beyond the control of the Sponsor, Sponsor's sole responsibility will be to award the remaining portion of the Finalist Prize and the Grand, First and Second Prizes and no additional substitution or compensation will be provided.

Winner is responsible for all federal, state, local and income taxes associated with winning prize. Except where prohibited by law, entry and acceptance of prize constitute permission to use winner's name, prize won, hometown, likeness, video tape, photographs, and statements for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity (including online posting) in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification or permission.

Prizes are awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied by Sponsor. Winners acknowledge that the Sponsor and all other businesses affiliated with this Contest and their agents do not make, nor are in any manner responsible for any warranty, representations, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the quality, conditions, fitness or merchantability of any aspect of the prize being offered, except that each merchandise prize shall be subject to its manufacturer’s standard warranty (if any). Once the prize has been delivered to the winner’s provided address, the prize is considered awarded.

GENERAL: Participating Entrants agree to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Administrator and the Sponsor, and release and hold the Sponsor, the Administrator, Freeform, and their affiliated companies, and all other businesses involved in this Promotion, as well as the employees, officers, directors and agents of each (the “Released Parties”), from all claims and liability relating to their participation in the Promotion, and the acceptance and use/misuse of the prize offered. Entrants waive all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages. Finalists/Winners assume all liability for any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused, by participation in this Promotion or use/misuse or redemption of a prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Promotion or in the announcement of any prize.

No confidential relationship is established by any Entrant and the Sponsor as a result of participating in the Promotion. None of the information submitted by the Entrant will be treated as trade secrets, confidential information or as protected data.

Although subsequent attempts to submit an Entry may be received, only the first complete Entry received from a particular Entrant will be eligible; subsequent attempts by the same person to Enter, including Entries submitted with an alternate email address or identity will be disqualified. In the event of a dispute over the identity of an entrant, submission will be deemed submitted by the "Authorized Account Holder" of the email address submitted by the Entrant. Authorized Account Holder means the natural person to whom the email address is registered. Any Entrant or potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder to Sponsor’s satisfaction. Entry materials/data that have been tampered with or altered, or mass entries or entries generated by a script, macro or use of automated devices are void. The Released Parties are not responsible for: (i) lost, late, misdirected, damaged or illegible entries; or (ii) error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of submission materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions of any kind, or inaccurate transmission of or failure to receive submission information by Sponsor on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site or any combination thereof; or (iii) any injury or damage to entrant's or any other person's computer related to or resulting from participating in the Promotion. By participating in the Promotion, you (i) agree to be bound by these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and (ii) agree to be bound by the decisions of Sponsor and the Administrator, which are final and binding in all matters relating to the Promotion. Failure to comply with these Official Rules may result in disqualification from the Promotion. Sponsor reserves the right to: (i) permanently disqualify from any Promotion it sponsors any person it believes has intentionally violated these Official Rules; and (ii) withdraw any method of entry or voting mechanism if it becomes technically corrupted (including if a computer virus or system malfunction inalterably impairs its ability to conduct the Promotion). If, for any reason, the Promotion is not capable of being conducted as planned, including but not limited to infection by computer viruses, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or other causes whether or not beyond the control of Sponsor, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Promotion. Sponsor is not responsible if the Promotion cannot be implemented or prizes cannot be awarded due to delays or interruptions due to acts of God, acts of war, strikes, governmental action, natural disasters, weather or acts of terrorism. Sponsor also reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual found to be violating these Official Rules or suspected of attempting to disrupt or defraud the Entry process or the operation of the Promotion. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any Entrant or Voter at any time during the Promotion Period that may be found ineligible.

In the event any participant engages or has engaged in behavior that (as determined by Sponsor in Sponsor's sole discretion) is obnoxious or threatening, illegal or that tends to annoy, abuse, threaten, disparage or harass any other person or company including the Sponsor or is otherwise inappropriate, the Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify the Entrant or winner and void any Entries of said person.

LEGAL WARNING: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN INDIVIDUAL, WHETHER OR NOT AN ENTRANT, TO DAMAGE, DESTROY, TAMPER OR VANDALIZE THIS WEB SITE OR INTERFERE WITH THE OPERATION OF THE PROMOTION, IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES AND DILIGENTLY PURSUE ALL REMEDIES AGAINST ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

GOVERNING LAW AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules or the rights and obligations of entrants, Sponsor or the Released Parties in connection with the Contest will be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the State of New York, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other laws.

BY ENTERING THE CONTEST, ENTRANT AGREES THAT TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW: (A) ANY AND ALL DISPUTES, CLAIMS AND CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED WITH THE CONTEST, OR ANY PRIZE AWARDED, WILL BE RESOLVED INDIVIDUALLY, WITHOUT RESORT TO ANY FORM OF CLASS ACTION; (B) ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, JUDGMENTS AND AWARDS WILL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL THIRD-PARTY, OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS INCURRED (IF ANY) NOT TO EXCEED TEN DOLLARS ($10.00), BUT IN NO EVENT WILL ATTORNEYS’ FEES BE AWARDED OR RECOVERABLE; (C) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANY ENTRANT BE PERMITTED TO OBTAIN ANY AWARD FOR, AND ENTRANT HEREBY KNOWINGLY AND EXPRESSLY WAIVES ALL RIGHTS TO SEEK, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, LOST PROFITS AND/OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES, OTHER THAN ACTUAL OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED TEN DOLLARS ($10.00), AND/OR ANY RIGHTS TO HAVE DAMAGES MULTIPLIED OR OTHERWISE INCREASED; AND (D) ENTRANTS’ REMEDIES ARE LIMITED TO A CLAIM FOR MONEY DAMAGES (IF ANY) AND ENTRANT IRREVOCABLY WAIVES ANY RIGHT TO SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR EQUITABLE RELIEF. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY, SO THE ABOVE MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

DISPUTES: The parties hereto each agree to finally settle all disputes only through arbitration; provided, however, the Released Parties shall be entitled to seek injunctive or equitable relief in the state and federal courts in Kings County, New York and any other court with jurisdiction over the parties. In arbitration, there is no judge or jury and review is limited. The arbitrator’s decision and award is final and binding, with limited exceptions, and judgment on the award may be entered in any court with jurisdiction. The parties agree that, except as set forth above, any claim, suit, action or proceeding arising out of or relating to this Contest shall be resolved solely by binding arbitration before a sole arbitrator under the streamlined Arbitration Rules Procedures of JAMS Inc. (“JAMS”) or any successor to JAMS. In the event JAMS is unwilling or unable to set a hearing date within fourteen (14) days of the filing of a “Demand for Arbitration”, then either party can elect to have the arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) or any other mutually agreeable arbitration administration service. If an in-person hearing is required, then it will take place in Brooklyn, New York. The federal or state law that applies to these Official Rules will also apply during the arbitration. Disputes will be arbitrated only on an individual basis and will not be consolidated with any other proceedings that involve any claims or controversy of another party, including any class actions; provided, however, if for any reason any court or arbitrator holds that this restriction is unconscionable or unenforceable, then the agreement to arbitrate doesn’t apply and the dispute must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in Brooklyn, New York. Sponsor agrees to pay the administrative and arbitrator’s fees in order to conduct the arbitration (but specifically excluding any travel or other costs of entrant to attend the arbitration hearing). Either party may, notwithstanding this provision, bring qualifying claims in small claims court.

PRIVACY: As a condition of entering the Contest, each entrant gives consent for Sponsor to obtain and deliver his or her name, address and other information to third parties, including Contest Administrator, for the purpose of administering this Contest and to comply with applicable laws, regulations and rules, including, without limitation, the storing of your personal information for purposes of complying with state record retention requirements.  Any information entrant provides to Sponsor may be used to communicate with entrant in relation to this Contest or on a Contest winner’s list.  Personal information collected from entrants are subject to the Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at https://www.essence.com/privacy-policy/.

OFFICIAL RULES REQUEST: To request a copy of the Official Rules, see www.essence.com/grownish or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope by May 7, 2020, to: The ESSENCE & Grown-ish Student Loan Payoff Contest Official Rules Request, PO Box 25466, Rochester, NY 14625-0466.

WINNER CONFIRMATION REQUEST: For a written confirmation of the winner (available after 05/07/20), send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (no later than 06/04/20), to: The ESSENCE & Grown-ish Student Loan Payoff Contest Winner Confirmation Request, PO Box 25466, Rochester, NY 14625-0466.

SPONSOR: ESSENCE Communications, Inc., 34 35th Street 5th Floor Brooklyn NY 11232.

ADMINISTRATOR: US Sweepstakes & Fulfillment Company, 625 Panorama Trail, Suite 2100, Rochester, NY 14625. 1-800-620-6044

Void outside the US, in Puerto Rico, and wherever else prohibited by law.