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The 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival Announces Yolanda Adams, Maurette Brown Clark, Kim Burrell, Byron Cage, Tyronne Foster & The Arc Singers, Tramaine Hawkins, Israel Houghton, Bishop Lester Love & Pastor Marvin Winans as Part of the All-star Gospel Tribute to Honor Mary Mary and Fred Hammond

Seven Time Grammy Award Winning Gospel Singer Kirk Franklin Returns to the Main Stage

Grammy Award Winning Rapper & Actress Eve Along With Alex Boyd, Gary Clark Jr., & Robert Glasper Make Debut Performances at the Superdome

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NEW YORK, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Yolanda Adams, Maurette Brown Clark, Kim Burrell, Byron Cage, Tyronne Foster & The Arc Singers, Tramaine Hawkins, Israel Houghton, Bishop Lester Love and  Pastor Marvin Winans will come together and salute gospel mega-stars Fred Hammond and Mary Mary on Sunday, July 8th at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as part of the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival. The tribute culminates the three day annual ESSENCE Empowerment Experience taking place in New Orleans July 6-8 where attendees will celebrate the power of their spirits and are guaranteed to have an uplifting experience of entertainment and empowerment. 

In addition, with their first ever EMF performances, ESSENCE welcomes Grammy award winning rapper/actress Eve, who along with Robert Glasper, Gary Clark Jr. and Alex Boyd will appear for the first time at the legendary Louisiana Superdome.  Seven time Grammy award winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin has also been announced to return to the main stage. They will join the previously announced line-up, which includes the iconic Aretha Franklin, "Queen of Hip-Hop & R&B" Mary J. Blige, the legendary Charlie Wilson, the incomparable Ledisi, "American Idol" winner Fantasia, the sensational Stephanie Mills, R&B favorite Keyshia Cole and so much more. More talent additions will be announced in the near future.

In addition to the colossal music line-up, the audience can look forward to the annual ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, which is free and open to the public at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Festival-goers will experience three full days of socio-political dialogue, health and wellness discussions and spiritual inspiration led by dynamic motivational speakers. The rousing All-star Gospel tribute honoring gospel mega-stars Fred Hammond and Mary Mary will round out the 3 day experience with an initial roster of leading authors, speakers and leaders including Steve Harvey, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters and Dr. Steve Perry with other names to be announced.

Now in its 18th year, the ultimate destination for entertainment and inspiration hosted over 422,000 attendees last year. 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" by Advertising Age.  The ESSENCE Music Festival is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture.  Throughout its history, the Festival has featured an array of performers including Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Al Green, Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams, among others.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit http://www.essence.com/festival. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencemusic #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival on Facebook.

The 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival, in partnership with QuintEvents, has created "ESSENCE VIP Events" to offer fans the ultimate in "insider access", with exclusive VIP ticket, travel and hospitality party venue packages.  The Official packages are available now at www.QuintEvents.com and will be featured on the Official website, www.ESSENCEVIPEvents.com in early 2012.

The presenting sponsor for the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival is Coca-Cola.  Major sponsors include Coors Light, McDonald's, Ford, My Black is Beautiful, U.S. Army, Verizon and Wal-Mart. Official Sponsors are CNN, State Farm, TV-One and Visa Pre-Paid.

The 2012 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).  GeChar is the executive producer of the 2012 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience.

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 Music 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 42 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.

SOURCE ESSENCE magazine



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