NEW YORK, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE is excited to announce the new 2011 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience taking place July 1-3 in New Orleans at the 17th annual ESSENCE Music Festival. As the largest annual African-American event in the world, the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience promises to deliver compelling conversations featuring artists, experts and speakers all under one roof at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This three-day extravaganza is being billed as "A Weekend of Transformation."
Kicking off on Friday (July 1st), the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, sponsored by My Black is Beautiful, will offer a themed day of "Transforming Your Life" with appearances by Steve Harvey and Iyanla Vanzant, as well as an opportunity for attendees to meet the producers and audition for a chance to appear on "Family Feud" hosted by Steve Harvey. In addition, author Terry McMillan will present an exclusive "book club" experience with up-and-coming authors. On Saturday (July 2nd), ESSENCE will be "Transforming Your Community" through conversations with Rev. Al Sharpton, Soledad O'Brien and Terry McMillan, as well as a panel discussion entitled, "America I Am" featuring: Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, Tom Burrell and Jeff Henderson. In addition, a panel discussing the portrayal of women in the media will feature the leading women of reality television including: NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Shaunie O'Neal, Evelyn Lozada and Tami Roman. Rounding up the weekend on Sunday (July 3rd), ESSENCE and Verizon will present a day of praise and worship during an "All-Star Gospel Salute to CeCe Winans and Marvin Sapp" featuring Bishop Lester Love, Kierra Sheard, Deitrick Haddon and Dr. Juanita Bynum.
"The Empowerment Experience is what truly separates ESSENCE from other music festivals," says Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "Our audience has the rare opportunity to have their voices heard – by engaging with some of our most influential thinkers and leaders, who are shaping conversations around the issues that matter most to our community."
In addition to the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, the Festival's daytime offerings include the ESSENCE MARKETPLACE, a showcase of quality fine arts & crafts by African-American vendors from all over the world. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will also feature interactive sponsor presentations, celebrity meet-and-greets, festival merchandise and a book fair with author book signings.
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 #EMF2011 and become a fan of 2011 Essence Music Festival on Facebook.
The presenting sponsor for the 2011 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Major sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, U.S. Army, Verizon and Wal-Mart; official sponsors include CNN, My Black is Beautiful, State Farm and Visa Pre-Paid.
GeChar is the executive producer of the 2011 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience. The 2011 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).
ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is "Where Black Women Come First". 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, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For more than 40 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.