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ESSENCE Festival Talent on Leadership, Faith and the Power of Music

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Yolanda Adams
Yolanda Adams
Photo Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

We’re gearing up for the slew of accomplished speakers and artists scheduled to appear at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans from July 4 -7. Rev. Al Sharpton, as well as gospel icons Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin are just a few of the big names on the Empowerment Experience lineup.

We decided to plow through the ESSENCE magazine archives to uncover some of their best quotes ever. Here’s what we found.

Rev. Al Sharpton on Leadership
“Leadership is often described as the ability to motivate, inspire and guide individuals to fulfill a larger purpose beyond themselves. Leadership is not—and should not be—self-proclaimed, but rather it is an honor afforded to those whose words and deeds exemplify truth, conviction and a regard for the greater good of humanity.”

- ESSENCE, December 2010

Yolanda Adams on Her Music
"I live an extraordinary life in that I am able to share my music with millions, but I am just like you. I feel. I cry. I get angry. I get tired. And I'm working to love myself and be the kind of woman Jesus would have me be. My music, the thing I'm most known for, expresses what's deep within me. It's my way of saying, "I've been through it and came through it. You can, too."

- ESSENCE, February 2006


Donnie McClurkin on Being Raised in Church
"My dad was a Baptist, and my mom came from a long line of Pentecostals," he says. "They fought like cats and dogs over their differences and eventually stopped going to church. But they made sure the kids were raised in the church."

- ESSENCE, May 2003

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