With the likes of Steve Harvey, Iyanla Vanzant, Terry McMillan and others headlining the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience "Weekend of Transformation," it's hard to believe there's more. But, now CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, The View hostess and actress Sherri Shepherd, "Jumping the Broom" star Laz Alonso as well as commentator Sophia Nelson are joining the day of growth.

May, 12, 2011



With the likes of Steve Harvey, Iyanla Vanzant, Terry McMillan and others headlining the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience "Weekend of Transformation," it's hard to believe there's more. But, now CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, The View hostess and actress Sherri Shepherd, "Jumping the Broom" star Laz Alonso as well as commentator Sophia Nelson are joining the day of growth.

"The ESSENCE Music Festival's unique offering of world-class music, arts and culture also features one-of-a-kind enrichment opportunities within the Empowerment Experience," states Michelle Ebanks, President of ESSENCE Communications Inc. "This year's theme of 'transformation' is perfectly aligned with the ESSENCE brand mission to uplift and inspire, which we accomplish via critical information and dialogue from our nation's top thinkers and innovators over three full days."

The 2011 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience is free and open to the public. Here is the full schedule (as of 5/12):

Friday, July 1: "Transforming Your Life" - Sponsored by My Black is Beautiful

- "Family Feud" auditions with show producers and live segments hosted by Steve Harvey
- "Conversation with Sherri Shepherd and Demetria L. Lucas", led by an ESSENCE editor
- Keynote address: Iyanla Vanzant
- Keynote address: "Choose Love" by Phill Wilson
- "Terry McMillan Presents", featuring authors Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Danielle Evans and Tayari Jones
- "Reel Men on Real Love", featuring Laz Alonso, Terrence J., Lamman Rucker and Thompson Young

Saturday, July 2: "Transforming Your Community" - Sponsored by U.S. Army

- "Conversation with Steve Harvey", led by Soledad O'Brien
- "America I Am: The African-American Imprint", hosted by Tavis Smiley, featuring Dr. Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, Tom Burrell and Jeff Henderson
- "Conversation With Terry McMillan", led by Soledad O'Brien
- Keynote Address - Rev. Al Sharpton
- "Black in America: Historically Black College and University Discussion", moderated by Soledad O'Brien
- "State of Black Women", moderated by ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Constance White, featuring Dr. C. Nicole Mason, Sophia Nelson, Louisiana State Senator Karen Carson Peterson
- "Women of Reality TV", moderated by Anderson Cooper, featuring the leading women of reality television including: NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Shaunie O'Neal, Evelyn Lozada and Tami Roman

Sunday, July 3: "Transforming Your Soul" - Sponsored by Verizon

- "All-Star Gospel Salute" featuring CeCe Winans and Marvin Sapp
- A full-day of praise and worship, with performances by Kierra Sheard, Deitrick Haddon and Dr. Juanita Bynum, Kelly Price, Tyronne Foster and the Arc Singers, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Fred Hammond
- Opening/Closing Prayer by Bishop Lester Love

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