ESSENCE And MSNBC Join Forces At The 2013 ESSENCE Festival For Unprecedented Live Coverage During Fourth Of July Weekend The Nation's Most Influential African-American Women's Brand and The Country's Fastest Growing News Network Will Partner for Three Days of Live Programming at the Premier Forum for Black Women Featuring MSNBC Hosts and Contributors Rev. Al Sharpton, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Matthews, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz and Joy Ann Reid

NEW YORK, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE, the number one media brand dedicated to African-American women, and MSNBC, the premier cable destination for in-depth analysis, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives, are teaming up at the 2013 ESSENCE Festival during Fourth of July weekend for unprecedented live coverage of headliners and newsmakers.  MSNBC will broadcast live from the ESSENCE Festival daily from Friday, July 5, to Sunday, July 7. In addition to covering the Festival, MSNBC will host a unique fan experience that will allow festival goers to join in efforts to strengthen and empower our communities. 

The announcement was made today by Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. and Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC.

"MSNBC's live programming during the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, from the heart of the ESSENCE Festival, underscores their commitment to broaden the national reach and impact of conversations with thought-leaders, politicians, authors, celebrities and artists who will address the critical issues facing our communities—especially those of people of color and women," said Ebanks.

"MSNBC is committed to community and conversation—everything the ESSENCE Festival represents," said Griffin. "We're proud to partner with ESSENCE to highlight the ideas and issues of value to our audiences."

The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage, the core of the annual Essence Festival, will feature icons, newsmakers, national leaders, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, journalists, educators, and experts to showcase the many dimensions of the African-American community including a central focus on information to improve women's day-to-day lives.

The ESSENCE Festival is the ultimate entertainment, inspiration and cultural destination, hosting over 400,000 attendees annually. What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events," as designated by Advertising Age.  The ESSENCE Festival is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture.   

The ESSENCE Festival expanded to four days in 2012. This year's performers include Beyonce, Maxwell, Jill Scott, Brandy, LL Cool J, Trey Songz, New Edition, Janelle Monae and Jodi Watley to name a few.  The Festival will kick off with a Family Reunion Day on Thursday, July 4, and culminates on Sunday, July 7 with an all-star gospel tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin during the day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and Beyonce closing that evening at the Louisiana Superdome.  

For more information about the 2013 ESSENCE Festival, visit www.essencefestival.com, join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2013 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.

Sponsors of the 2013 ESSENCE Festival include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald's, My Black Is Beautiful, StateFarm, Verizon and Walmart as well as official sponsors Coors Light and Visa Prepaid.

ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:

Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online.  The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 43 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women's lives.  Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.

About MSNBC:

The premier cable destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives – 24/7. MSNBC defines news for the next generation with world-class reporting and a full schedule of live news coverage, political analysis and award-winning documentary programming – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. MSNBC's home on the Internet is tv.msnbc.com.

SOURCE Essence Communications Inc.



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