• Essence Festival
  • Culture
  • Speaker Lineup
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE; DOORS OPEN AT 9:00AM ON THURSDAY - SATURDAY, AND 8:00AM ON SUNDAY
Location: Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70130
*Appearances/schedule are subject to change.*
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ESSENCE “Intimacy Intervention” columnist Abiola Abrams gives heartfelt advice on love, sex, and self-esteem. The author of “The Official Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” viewers have followed the Love-Body-Spirit Coach, writer and TV personality on networks from MTV to the CW.

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Rev. Al Sharpton is the founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Harlem, New York, with over sixty chapters nationwide including a Washington, DC Bureau and regional offices from coast to coast.  Rev.

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Cheryl Wills is a television personality and the author of “Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale.”  Cheryl is award-winning anchor for New York 1 News.

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters was elected in November 2012 to her twelfth term in the House of Representatives, representing California's 43rd Congressional District. She serves as the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Comm

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 Dr. Shervington is the President and CEO of The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, a community-based public health institute in New Orleans. She is also a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tulane University Medical Center. Dr.

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Sophistication meets Crunk!

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Sunday
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Gospel Tribute

Three-time Grammy winner, Donnie McClurkin, is the man behind multi-platinum and gold-selling CD(s) and an amazing songwriter that has penned chart topping tunes like, “Stand” and “We Fall Down.”  For over six years he has hosted The Donnie McClurkin Show, which draws over 5 million listeners in

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Dr. Aletha Maybank is a highly respected physician whose mission is to blend health and personal empowerment in cutting-edge ways. Her main expertise includes preventive medicine, public health, and health inequities.

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Dr. Sherry Blake, better known as “Dr. Sherry” is a therapist to the stars.  She considers everyone a “star” in their own right.  Some are already known while others are waiting to be discovered.  Born in Nashville, TN, Dr.

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After seven Mary Mary albums and a lifetime (plus 13 years of professionally singing) with sister Tina, Erica released her debut solo album HELP in 2014, a compelling impressive body of work that is both passionate and meaningful.

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Saturday
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Iyanla Vanzant, host of Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, is the acclaimed spiritual life coach, Emmy Award winner and New York Times best-selling author whose focus on faith, empowerment and relationships has inspired audiences around the world. The author of 16 books, includin

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GRAMMY® nominated, Multiple Dove & Stellar Award-winning artist & songwriter. Singing since age 9, at 26 yrs of age, Kierra is already a veteran. Kierra is the daughter of Karen Clark Sheard & Bishop J. Drew Sheard (Sr. pastor of GEI COGIC-Det, MI).

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Grammy nominated, NAACP, Dove and Stellar Award recipient, Kim Burrell is one of the world’s most sought after artist in the music industry today. For over 25 years, she has been affectionately known as a singer’s singer with a unique voice that distinguishes her from the rest across any genre.

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Kira Orange Jones is SVP and executive director of Teach For America - Greater New Orleans-Louisiana Delta. She taught 4th grade through Teach For America in 2000 in Baton Rouge.

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Blessed with a unique anointing, Latice Crawford is a talented gospel singer and songwriter signed to RCA Inspiration.  Dubbed as the “Whitney Houston” of gospel—the Queens, New York native was discovered on BET’s gospel competition, Sunday Best where she became a top three finalist during the s

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Aja Brown is the youngest Mayor elected in the City of Compton, holding over 10 years experience in development and government.  Mayor Brown is a proven strategic visionary, concentrated on quality of life and policy reform.

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Kasim Reed is the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta, taking office for a second term on January 6, 2014. Elected with a clear mandate for fiscal reform, Mayor Reed has increased core city services and reduced the City’s spending during a historic recession.

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is the 49th Mayor of Baltimore and the only black female serving as mayor among the country’s 100 largest cities. She has focused her administration on growing Baltimore’s population by 10,000 families over the next decade.

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Melinda F. Emerson, known as SmallBizLady, is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an internationally known keynote speaker and an expert on small business start up, business development, and social media marketing.

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Sarah Jakes oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She pens a blog at sarahjakes.com and serves as a television host on The Potter's Touch.

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As a featured member of two of the most beloved Gospel ensembles of the past two decades – Donald Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers and the duo Ted & Sheri – Sheri Jones- Moffett carved a deep niche for herself in the hearts of Gospel music lovers long before the 2009 release of her solo debut, Re

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As the first act signed to Kirk Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul Recordings label, siblings Darrel, Rhea, Paco and Ajah are on a fast track to music notoriety. With ministry at the heart of their music, these youthful voices from Houston have an unbelievable sound and bond.

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Motivated by her parents and Chef Duane Nutter, Tiffanie Barriere’ has the pleasure of serving cocktails in the busiest airport in the world One Flew South Resturant and Sushi Bar. Originality from Houston, Texas and parents from Louisiana, Tiffanie has taken Bartending serious in Atlanta.

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Twenty-seven years of singing, ministering, and giving God the praise and the Glory are just a few words to describe Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers. This community choir has traveled throughout the country and internationally spreading the the good news through singing gospel music.

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Sunday
1:10 - 1:30 PM
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Gospel Tribute

Yolanda Adams triumphantly carries the torch for contemporary gospel & inspirational music. With 13 releases Yolanda has earned a multitude of accolades including four Grammy Awards.

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