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FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Empowerment

This event is free
Saturday
Empowerment

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. Al Sharpton is currently the host of a daily television show on MSNBC that analyzes the top political and social news and features the country's leading newsmakers.  "PoliticsNation” with Rev. Al Sharpton airs at 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.www.nationalactionnetwork.net @theRevAl

This event is free
Friday 12:20PM
Empowerment

ALICE RANDALL is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels "The Wind Done Gone," "Pushkin" and "The Queen of Spades," "Rebel Yell," and "Ada’s Rules." Randall teaches the course “Soul Food, in Text, as Text” at Vanderbilt University. Randall has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a Health Champion and is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Nashville Ambassador. Soul Food Love is her second book co-authored with daughter Caroline Randall Williams.

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS was chosen by Southern Living as one of “50 People Changing the South in 2015” for her healthy soul food remix, Soul Food Love, co-authored with her mother, Alice Randall. The mother daughter duo’s first book, The Diary of B.B. Bright, Possible Princess, won the Phillis Wheatley prize and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. Randall Williams received her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi, and owns more than 1,000 cookbooks.

This event is free
Friday 11:10AM
Empowerment

Grammy®, Stellar, and Dove-award nominated singer Anita Wilson keeps Urban Contemporary music alight with her unparalleled fusion of Gospel and Soul. First finding notoriety as part of the Grammy®-nominated ensemble Donald Lawrence & Co., Wilson’s debut album Worship Soul– wielded the memorable Billboard Top 20 hits “Jesus Will” and “Speechless” and introduced the masses to Wilson as a new front-runner for Urban Contemporary Gospel.
Recognized by the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff as one of “2012’s top ten albums” across all genres and named “8 Rising Gospel Stars” by JET Magazine in 2013, Essence.com named Wilson one of “15 Gospel Artists to Watch in 2014.’ Wilson’s forthcoming sophomore project VINTAGE WORSHIP releases on June 24th on Motown Gospel.

This event is free
Sunday 10:30AM
Empowerment

Lester Love is the Pastor of The City of Love. He possesses great leadership skills and is widely recognized for his ability to organize a team of people, energize them to accomplish any challenges that are set before them, and provide them with strategies for implementation.

This event is free
Friday
Empowerment

Charles Belonge a.k.a. Dj Bambam Belonge definitely rocks the party! This New Orleans native and legendary DJ of it's radio and entertainment scene has hosted and performed at many of the most prominent upscale events for decades. He has energized audiences before such names as Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey, Mary Mary, Queen Latifah, and many more. Other credits include NBA All-Star Jam Session, Official City of New Orleans Mardi Gras, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Essence Festival, and a host of other celebrity and socialite events.

This event is free
Friday 03:55PM
Empowerment

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times' Op-Ed columnist, CNN commentator and New York Times best-selling author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning memoir, "Fire Shut Up In My Bones," a book that Alice Walker called "luminous," Henry Louis Gates, Jr. called "a classic" and ESSENCE Magazine called "stunning."Mr. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children in or heading to college.

This event is free
Sunday 11:00AM
Empowerment

Charlie Wilson has been heralded as an icon and is sought after by today’s chart topping contemporary artists. He has received multiple accolades during his career including nine Grammy nominations, a BET Lifetime Achievement Award and a Trumpet Award.
 
He has performed his critically acclaimed concerts to sold out audiences both domestically and internationally.  His latest album, "Forever Charlie" confirms that his 2015 Essence Festival performance will be bigger and better than ever.

This event is free
Friday 01:30PM
Empowerment

Charreah K. Jackson is the Lifestyle & Relationships Editor for ESSENCE, empowering the brand’s audience of 13.4 million. She is an award-winning journalist, international life coach and featured expert on CNN, NBC and ABC News. She is also the creator of BossBride.com, a love and career advice site for women. The National Association of Professional Women recently named Charreah a "Woman of the Year." Her passion for the power of relationships is contagious.

This event is free
Sunday 01:05PM
Empowerment

Cheryl Wills is a television personality and the author of “Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale.” Cheryl is award-winning anchor for Time Warner Cable’s flagship network, New York 1 News. Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak before the United Nations General Assembly for the International Remembrance of sThe Transatlantic Slave Trade.Cheryl has made cameo appearances in this summer’s blockbuster Spiderman2, Law & Order: SVU, Freedomland, and The Brave One.

This event is free
Saturday 02:55PM
Empowerment

Claudia Jordan is a TV and radio host who recently moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles. She is currently working as a co-host on "The Rickey Smiley Morning Show" and the newest cast member of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Claudia is also a frequent contributor on CNN and HLN’s "Dr. Drew On Call."This Radio Show Personality/Host/ & Reality Star is embarking on many adventures…stay tuned, there is much more to come. 

This event is free
Saturday 10:00AM
Empowerment

Crystal McCrary is an award-winning film and television producer, director, author and former lawyer. She has written two New York Times best-selling novels HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE and GOTHAM DIARIES as well as the book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World. She produced the film DIRTY LAUNDRY and was executive producer for the BET series LEADING WOMEN and LEADING MEN. Most recently, Ms. McCrary directed the documentary LITTLE BALLERS, which premiered on Nickelodeon.

This event is free
Friday 12:20PM
Empowerment

Supermodel Cynthia Bailey’s career began 25 years ago after signing with Wilhelmina Models in New York City. Her first booking was for the cover of ESSENCE magazine which was one of the highest-selling covers in ESSENCE history. Although Cynthia is proud of her successful modeling career her greatest accomplishment is her daughter Noelle Forde Robinson. Currently, Cynthia stars on the hit reality show "The Real Housewices of Atlanta," and she is the CEO of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion.Noelle: Noelle Robinson is the 15 year old daughter of model/reality TV star Cynthia Bailey and actor Leon Robinson. Noelle's passion is singing, and acting. She is sophmore in high school, and is a member of the tennis team. Her hobbies include photography, skiing, & writing. She cash be seen on Bravo's hit reality show THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA.

This event is free
Friday 03:40PM
Empowerment

Deborah Elam, President, GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer for GE, works at their Corporate Headquarters in CT and leads efforts globally to bring employees closer to their communities while maintaining diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of GE’s productivity, creativity, innovation and competitive advantage. Elam is a New Orleans native and received a BA degree in sociology at Louisiana State University and a Masters of Public Administration at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

This event is free
Saturday 10:00AM
Empowerment

Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, Founder of The Chopra Foundation and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation. He has authored more than 80 books, published in more than 43 languages, including 22 New York Times best-sellers.

He serves as an Adjunct Professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, Assistant Clinical Professor, in the Family and Preventive Medicine Department at the University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences, Faculty at Walt Disney Imagineering and Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization.

This event is free
Friday 11:35AM
Empowerment

Contemporary gospel artist Deitrick Haddon was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he served as music director at Detroit's Unity Cathedral of Faith. He has produced and released 12 hit albums, most recently A Beautiful Soul (2012), and R.E.D. (2013), which topped the Billboard Gospel Album charts. Haddon is readying the Fall 2015 release of his newest album, the first of a new multi-platform TV/film/recording deal with eOne music.

This event is free
Friday 01:25PM
Empowerment

DeVon Franklin is Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Tristar Pictures. His most recent project was the box office sensation Heaven Is For Real. His other film projects include the remake of "The Karate Kid," "Jumping the Broom," and "The Pursuit of Happyness." DeVon is also a preacher and motivational speaker and the author of the bestselling "Produced By Faith." He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Meagan Good.

Meagan Good has been acting since she was four and starred in the critically acclaimed drama "Eve’s Bayou." She followed with successful films like "Deliver Us From Eva," "Jumping the Broom," "Think Like a Man," and "Anchorman 2." Most recently, she worked as a producer on "Miles From Home" and the upcoming film, "Loose." A native of Southern California, she is married to DeVon Franklin and lives in Los Angeles.

This event is free
Friday 02:05PM
Empowerment

Donna Brazile is a veteran Democratic political strategist and current Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee. After working on every presidential campaign from 1976 to 2000 when she managed Vice President Al Gore’s campaign, she is now an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and on-air contributor to CNN and ABC.

This event is free
Sunday 11:55AM
Empowerment

Armed with a remarkable legacy and a powerful musical gift, Dr. Dorinda Clark-Cole has built an iconic career in music and ministry. Having amassed three Grammy® Awards and six Stellar Gospel Music Awards, her fifth full-length solo album “Living It” showcases her renewed grace, her faith-fueled confidence and her ability to overcome insurmountable odds.

LIVING IT is the culmination of this dynamic legend’s testimony firing up listeners’ faith with an immersive spiritual and sonic experience.

This event is free
Friday 03:40PM
Empowerment

The Honorable La Doris “Dot” Harris was nominated by President Barack Obama and Senate confirmed to serve as Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at Department of Energy. She advocates for the engagement of minorities and underrepresented communities in energy initiatives and serves on the White House Council on Women and Girls. She possesses over 30 years of managerial experience, and has held executive leadership positions at Jabo Industries, GE, ABB, and Westinghouse.

This event is free
Friday 04:45PM
Empowerment

Dr. Leo Moore is a highly-regarded young physician. A graduate of the Morehouse School of Medicine, he did his residency at Yale and is now a clinical scholar practicing in Los Angeles with a focus on HIV/AIDS. As he tells it, Dr. Moore grew up learning to embrace his love for other men in a very religious family in the South so he knows firsthand the struggles faced by so many young men in finding love, support, and acceptance.

This event is free
Friday 04:15PM
Empowerment

Featured in CNN's "Black in America," Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today. Founder of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in America, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr. Perry, MSW is also Founder and Head of Capital Preparatory Schools, with two new locations opening in Bridgeport, CT and Harlem, NY, the Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an ESSENCE Magazine columnist, and a best-selling author.

This event is free
Friday 03:55PM
Empowerment

Ed Gordon is known for interaction with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, entertainment and sports. Gordon is host of the nationally syndicated program "Conversations with Ed Gordon" where Gordon gets up-close and personal with celebrities and newsmakers.He hosts "New View" with Ed Gordon, a monthly roundtable program seen on some PBS stations and the syndicated radio program, "Weekend With Ed Gordon."Gordon is heard twice a week on "The Steve Harvey Morning Show."

This event is free
Saturday 10:15AM
Empowerment

Erica Ford is one of the most influential voices of her generation. She is a globally acclaimed philanthropist, entrepreneur, and community activist who is credited with transforming the lives of young people, primarily in her home of New York City through peace initiatives. For more than 20 years, she has been a trailblazer in bringing new and innovative evidence base practices to reducing violence and helping people heal from impact of Trauma.

This event is free
Friday 01:30PM
Empowerment

Flex Alexander is best known for his role on television hit, “One on One," which he created and produced. He has continued to make television appearances on series, such as Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” and recently returned to his comedic roots, performing in shows across the U.S.

Shanice is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Her megahit “I Love Your Smile” reached #1 in 22 countries, followed by Top 10 hit singles "Silent Prayer" and "Saving Forever for You."
Now ready for her return to music, Shanice has recorded a collection of hits telling stories of love, loss and triumph.

Now ready for her return to music, Shanice has recorded a collection of hits telling stories of love, loss and triumph.

The Alexander's have been married for the past 15 years. They currently star on OWN docu-series, “Flex & Shanice,” returning July 11, 2015.

This event is free
Sunday
Empowerment

GPY & Church Friends, the house band for the All Star Gospel Tribute, have been featured on TV, movies, and have shared the stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, New Kids On The Block, and more! "We always somehow ended up together...either performing, supporting each other, or simply as friends. It only made sense to come together, and do what we do best, music..." said George Potts Young, the founder.

This event is free
Friday 12:20PM
Empowerment

As an actress Lynn Whitfield is known for her dramatic characters in television and film, but anyone who knows Lynn knows that she considers her greatest role to be that of mother to her daughter, emerging singer-songwriter Grace Gibson. Life has taken this mother and daughter through ups and downs, but regardless of circumstance they are a team of two, who want nothing more than for the other to manifest their dreams and purpose. 

This event is free
Saturday 11:35AM
Empowerment

India.Arie went from “singing under a tree in the park” to the Grammy Awards stage, earning seven nominations for her 2001 double platinum debut Acoustic Soul featuring her first hit single “Video."
India’s latest 5th and most recent album, "SongVersation", is a compelling snapshot of her breakthrough to personal and artistic growth on the other side of a self- imposed four- year hiatus. "SongVersation" finds India.Arie coming back full circle to the basics that captivated a global legion of fans.
Visit www.soulbird.com

This event is free
Saturday 5:35PM
Empowerment

From welfare mother to New York Times’ best-selling author, from the Brooklyn projects to two time winner NAACP Image Award, from broken pieces to peace, Iyanla Vanzant is one of the country’s most prolific writers, public speakers and among the most influential, socially engaged and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time. Executive Producer and Host of the breakout hit Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Iyanla Vanzant’s focus on faith, empowerment and loving relationships has inspired millions around the world.

This event is free
Sunday 11:25AM
Empowerment

Award winning gospel singer, songwriter, musician and bishop Jason Nelson is one of the most anointed voices in gospel music. Since 2005, Nelson has released three powerful albums that has received critical acclaim from fans and music peers alike. “I Am” the first single from his third album JESUS REVEALED (RCA Inspiration) is currently the #1 gospel song in the country for 15 consecutive weeks. Jason lives in Baltimore with his wife and two children.

This event is free
Sunday 03:00PM
Empowerment

Eight-time Grammy nominated Singer/Songwriter Jazmine Sullivan first hit the scene in 2008 with the release of her debut-hit album Fearless, which spawned hits like “Need U Bad,” “Bust Your Windows” and “Lions, Tigers & Bears.” In 2010, the Philadelphia native released Love Me Back, which produced the chart-topping fan favorite “Holding You Down.” After a three year hiatus, Jazmine returned this year with Reality Show, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart and #2 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart.

This event is free
Sunday 02:20PM
Empowerment

Jessica Reedy, a 5’11 gifted singer, actress and songwriter from Saginaw Michigan, received national exposure in 2009 as the runner up on Season 2 BET’s Sunday Best.  Her signature deep vocal tone is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary gospel.  She delivers a message of hope and is committed to uplift and encourage in non-traditional venues.

She has appeared on several major television platforms such as BET and CBS’s Christmas Special.

Her sophomore album entitled “Transparent” was released Winter 2014, and debuted #5 on Billboard Gospel Charts.

This event is free
Sunday 03:20PM
Empowerment

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan McReynolds has been wowing the industry and fans since the release of his 2012 debut album Life Music, garnering accolades including Dove and Stellar Award nominations. His upcoming second album includes the singles “Gotta Have You” and “Pressure.” The Chicago native’s songwriting and live performances continue to command attention on stages everywhere especially the Essence Festival, where he will be making his second consecutive appearance.

This event is free
Friday 03:45PM
Empowerment

Judy Reese Morse is Deputy Mayor for Citywide Initiatives for the City of New Orleans. Deputy Mayor Morse works closely with three priority initiatives: NOLA FOR LIFE, the city's comprehensive strategy to reduce murder among young, African American men; Economic Opportunity Strategy, an effort that connects disadvantaged job seekers and businesses with opportunities to participate in the economy; and The Welcome Table New Orleans, an initiative on race, reconciliation and community building. Morse, who was a Presidential Management Fellow, has an undergraduate degree in Communications from Loyola University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC.

This event is free
Friday 04:45PM
Empowerment

Jussie Smollett is an acclaimed actor and musician currently starring on the hit FOX show "Empire."  Mr. Smollett, who serves on the board of the Black AIDS Institute and was recently inducted into the Heroes in the Struggle Hall of Fame, has long been involved in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities. He has spoken out about stigma and the need for a more open dialogue about the disease for Greater Than AIDS.

This event is free
Friday 03:40PM
Empowerment

Karla Martin has over 20 years of experience as a business advisor to CEOs. Karla joined Google in May 2014 as Director of Global Business Strategy helping drive the next wave of strategic growth. Prior to Google, Karla was the first African American woman partner at Booz Allen & Hamilton, heading up the Global Retail and Luxury Goods practice and Head of the San Francisco Office. Karla is a member of several Boards to include: the San Francisco Ballet, the Stern Grove Festival Association and others. She has an AB with honors in Sociology and Economics from Harvard University and a JD with honors from Harvard Law School.

This event is free
Saturday 02:30PM
Empowerment

Karrine Steffans is the New York Times bestselling author of seven titles. The author and her books have been featured on shows hosted by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, and the queen of daytime herself, Oprah Winfrey.The author has also contributed satirical editorial to HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher." Her latest book, "Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen: Ten Years Later," will be released in June 2015.

This event is free
Saturday 02:50PM
Empowerment

Keke Palmer is an award-winning actress, singer and dancer. Her credits include Akeelah and The Bee, Joyful Noise, Brotherly Love, A Trip to Bountiful, True Jackson, VP, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story and Masters of Sex. Palmer made history as the first African-American and youngest actress to grace Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 iconic musical, Cinderella. This fall, Palmer is set to star as “Zayday” in FOX’s new comedy-horror series Scream Queens.

This event is free
Friday 04:45PM
Empowerment

LaTongia is a proud mother of Otis, a young gay men living with HIV. As teen mother herself when she had Otis, and now mother of three daughters and another son, she knows firsthand the challenges young people today face. While she was initially devastated to find out Otis was positive, she loves her “baby“ and does everything in her power to keep him healthy and well.

This event is free
Sunday 02:20PM
Empowerment

GRAMMY® Award and two-time Stellar Gospel Music Award winner Le'Andria Johnson, has taken the gospel scene by storm. As the season three winner of BET's "Sunday Best," Le'Andria went on to release her debut CD, "The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson," which entered at #1 on multiple music charts. Known for her captivating live performances, the recently signed RCA Inspiration artist is expanding her music ministry and breaking new ground all over the world.

This event is free
Saturday 02:40PM
Empowerment

Marc Morial is President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization.Morial served as the highly successful and popular Mayor of New Orleans as well as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He was a Louisiana State Senator, and lawyer in New Orleans with an active, high-profile practice.He is a leading voice on the national stage in the battle for jobs, education, housing and voting rights equity.

This event is free
Saturday 02:30PM
Empowerment

From her early days as a television host at a local Tennessee news station, Mariah knew that to effectively tell a story, it needs be sold to the right audience. Well, as the Creator and Executive Producer behind Bravo TV's successful reality franchise "Married to Medicine," the proof is certainly in the pudding. Blending beauty and brains, this strong determined woman can light a room. This busy mother of two is the Chief Operating Officer of Jewel and Jem, a children’s apparel company she runs with her sister Lake. She and her husband Dr. Aydin HUQ also developed Cinnamon Girl Nutritional Products.

This event is free
Sunday 12:25PM
Empowerment

Award-winning gospel superstar, author, and pastor, Marvin Sapp is set to celebrate his 10th solo album with the release of his highly anticipated new project, YOU SHALL LIVE, on RCA Inspiration (6/2/15). Known for his mega-selling single "Never Would Have Made It”, which held down the #1 spot in gospel radio for almost a year, Sapp is currently touring the country preaching and promoting his new single “Yes You Can."

This event is free
Saturday 01:45PM
Empowerment

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is the first woman to lead the city of Gary, IN and the first African-American female mayor in the State of Indiana.

She served as the CEO of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Executive Director of The National Drug Court Institute, a twice-elected Gary City Judge and former Indiana Attorney General.

Freeman-Wilson resides in Gary with husband Carmen. Their daughter, Jordan, is a junior at Howard University.

This event is free
Friday 12:15PM
Empowerment

Mitchell J. Landrieu has served as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans since 2010, elected with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014. Since taking office, Landrieu has implemented transformational changes to build a better, stronger New Orleans as one team, one fight, one voice and one city. Landrieu previously served six years as lieutenant governor and 16 years as a state legislator.

This event is free
Saturday 01:45PM
Empowerment

Mitchell J. Landrieu has served as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans since 2010, elected with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014. Since taking office, Landrieu has implemented transformational changes to build a better, stronger New Orleans as one team, one fight, one voice and one city. Landrieu previously served six years as lieutenant governor and 16 years as a state legislator.

This event is free
Saturday 01:45PM
Empowerment

Mayor Ras J. Baraka was elected Mayor of the City of Newark in May 2014. An accomplished legislator and administrator, he has spent more than two decades tackling issues that affect the quality of life for Newark residents. Mayor Baraka is a former educator, principal and basketball coach. His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was one of the nation’s legendary poets and playwrights. The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is also a published author.

This event is free
Friday 12:15PM
Empowerment

For over 30 years, Mikki Taylor served as ESSENCE Magazine’s groundbreaking Beauty & Cover Director and is now Editor-at-Large. Taylor is also President of Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC, a strategic consulting, communications and branding company. A highly sought-after speaker and media expert, Taylor offers beauty, style and empowerment strategies that shapes lives. She is author of the critically acclaimed "Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner" and "Outer Beauty and Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady."

This event is free
Friday 03:40PM
Empowerment

Monique Greenwood owns the award-winning Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, a historic collection of B&Bs in Brooklyn, NY, Washington, DC, Cape May, NJ, and the Poconos in Pennsylvania. A former editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine, Monique is passionate about economically empowering our communities. She developed The Shops of Lewis Avenue, an upscale retail strip in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she rents out commercial spaces at reduced rates to area entrepreneurs. Her life-changing, best-selling book is “Having What Matters: The Black Woman’s Guide to Creating the Life You Really Want.”

This event is free
Friday 02:50PM
Empowerment

Monique W. Morris is the co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute and faculty for the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College of CA. She is the author ofBlack Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century and the forthcoming book, "Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools" (2016).

This event is free
Saturday 03:35PM
Empowerment

Nicole Paultre Bell was the fiancée of Sean Bell. Tireless in the pursuit of justice, she became a nation wide symbol for activism. Nicole is a mother of three founded and “When It’s Real, Its Forever," a justice and youth based NYC organization.As a leader in countless rallies and marches, she was honored with a ‘City of New York Proclamation’- for distinguished contributions to her community. In 2010, Paultre Bell ran for city council. Today, she continues to be an advocate for empowerment and Justice.

This event is free
Friday 04:45PM
Empowerment

Otis is a charismatic 28-year-old gay man from Dallas with a huge smile and large laugh. Family has always been very important to him, even more so since he found out he was living with HIV. Telling his mother he is positive was hard but the love and support he received from her as well as his extended family and friends along with ongoing medical treatment has enabled him to thrive.

This event is free
Friday 03:00PM
Empowerment

America’s Money Maven, Patrice C. Washington, has been making money fun since 2003.  As a #1 best-selling author, featured columnist, television commentator and international speaker, Patrice is a leading authority on personal finance, entrepreneurship and success.

Each week, her financial advice is heard by millions during her segment, Real Money Answers on the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show. In addition to being featured on the cover of Women of Wealth Magazine, Patrice’s wisdom has been tapped by national brands such as Bloomberg TV, CNN Money, NBC, Huffington Post and most recently as the 2015 National Spokesperson for MyFreeTaxes.com. 

This event is free
Saturday 03:35PM
Empowerment

Senator Karen Carter Peterson represents Senate District 5 in Louisiana. Past Chair of the Women’s Caucus, current chair of the Select Committee on Women and Children, and Counsel at Dentons. Served on House Appropriations, as House Speaker Pro Tempore, and the first female chair of House Insurance.

In 2012, elected first female Chair of Louisiana Democratic Party. Appointed Co-Chair of DNC Credentials Committee and elected Vice-President of the Association of Democratic Party Chairs. She is a member of DST and married to Dana Peterson.

This event is free
Friday 10:30AM
Empowerment

Shaun T is a world-renowned health and fitness expert & creator of the best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, HIP-HOP ABS and FOCUS T25. The NJ native received a BS in Sports Science with a minor in Theater and Dance from Rowan University. He’s shared the stage alongside Val Kilmer in the musical version of "The Ten Commandments," appeared in "Pippin and Applause" as well as "Six Feet Under" and the feature film "Beauty Shop." He’s danced with Mariah Carey, Aaron and Nick Carter, choreographed the NCAA Final Four Halftime Show and the movie "Bring It On: All or Nothing." Shaun’s passion is focused on affecting positive lifestyle changes in people around the world and proving that becoming the best version of yourself is attainable. Shaun T talks about fitness, motivation and living on his podcast “Define Your Life."

This event is free
Saturday 04:15PM
Empowerment

Sheinelle Jones is the news anchor of NBC News’ Weekend TODAY and a mid-week correspondent for TODAY. Since joining TODAY in October 2014, she has covered a variety of human interest stories. Jones also contributes to the TODAY Parenting Team, where she shares about her life as a multi-tasking mom. Prior to joining TODAY, Jones served as co-host of FOX’s Emmy Award-winning morning show "Good Day Philadelphia."

This event is free
Saturday 12:15PM
Empowerment

Shirley Strawberry is the most recognizable name and voice in radio today. Dubbed, “The Best Voice in Radio” by Steve Harvey, she is co-host of one of today’s biggest, nationally syndicated radio morning shows with nearly eight million listeners.

Today, more than a decade later, the country loves Shirley Strawberry, and the wisdom she imparts during the show’s Strawberry Letter segment.

Shirley has been Radio Ink’s Top 100 most influential personalities for three consecutive years.

This event is free
Sunday 01:20PM
Empowerment

Smokie Norful, a multi-Grammy, Stellar award-winning recording artist, world renowned Pastor, educator and visionary who has reached the heights of success in both music and ministry.A career that spans over a decade, Norful now brings his music and ministry efforts towards global humanitarianism. He’s found commercial success with 4 #1 Billboard Albums (I NEED YOU NOW, NOTHING WITHOUT YOU, SMOKIE NORFUL LIVE, FOREVER YOURS) 2M+ albums sold worldwide. Norful is a multiple RIAA certified gold-selling artist.

This event is free
Friday 04:45PM
Empowerment

Soledad O'Brien is founder and CEO of Starfish Media Group. She contributes reports for HBO Real Sports, National Geographic, Al Jazeera America, and other media organizations. She has anchored and reported for NBC, CNN and others, winning numerous awards, including three Emmys, the George Peabody, an Alfred I DuPont prize and the Gracie. O’Brien is also a critically acclaimed author, a speaker and philanthropist.  Follow her on Twitter: @soledadobrien

This event is free
Saturday 12:30PM
Empowerment

Steve Harvey is an Emmy Award winning TV personality, talk show host, actor and comedian. He currently serves as host of two popular TV shows in which he won Emmy Awards for in 2014; The Steve Harvey Show, which premiered in 2011, and the game show, Family Feud, which he began hosting in 2010. He has hosted the nationally syndicated radio show, The Steve Harvey Morning Show, since its inception in 2000.

This event is free
Friday 02:40PM
Empowerment

Sybrina Fulton is dedicating her life to transforming family tragedy into social change. Since the death of her 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, Fulton has become an inspiring spokesperson for parents and concerned citizens across the country.

Her message not only appeals to people’s hearts as it relates to children, but is also one of hope and change, exemplified by her personal experiences and endeavors. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel accepted as part of an ever-changing society. An honest and relatable speaker, Fulton always looks forward sharing her powerful message with everyone from colleges and legal professionals to community and family organizations, and all other proponents of social justice.

This event is free
Saturday
Empowerment

The Houston-based vocal ensemble The Walls Group is comprised of siblings Darrel (23), Rhea (19), Paco (18) and Ahjah (17).  Their close-knit harmonies and gospel influences have produced a trademark sound that is instantly recognizable.  FAST FORWARD, The group’s first album on Kirk Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA label debuted at #1 on the Gospel Sales Chart in 2014.  The Walls Group is currently nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award and several Stellar Awards.   

This event is free
Sunday 01:15PM
Empowerment

29 years of worshipping and praising God seems like a long time. But when it comes to Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers, this choir knows that 29 years don’t add up to all the many blessings God has bestowed upon them. This group has a song to sing about and they don’t mind sharing it with the world.

This event is free
Sunday 03:55PM
Empowerment

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. Not only is Yolanda a phenomenal vocalist, she is also an author (Points of Power), designer of Simply Yolanda Bath & Body Products, record company executive (N-House Music Group), mother, and the host on her award winning nationally syndicated radio show “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show”.

This event is free
Sunday 02:50PM
Empowerment

Born September 17, 1985 in Houston, TX, Cortez hails from a singing family of faith. He began singing at the age of five in church and worked the Texas gospel circuit with his family, The Cortez Singers. Later on, John P. Kee, adopted him as a spiritual son and began mentoring him. For a while, Cortez sang with Kee’s V.I.P. Mass Choir and sang a solo on the CD, Live at the Fellowship, in 2001. This Powerhouse is sure to bring the house down after every performance.

Empower U

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Carla Harris is a Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. In August 2013, Carla Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council. Ms. Harris was recently named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America”, Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street”, and to Essence Magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World to name a few. Carla is also a gospel recording artist with 3 released CDs and is the author of Strategize to Win (2014) and Expect to Win (2009).

This event is free
Saturday 03:40PM
Empower U

Supermodel Cynthia Bailey’s career began 25 years ago after signing with Wilhelmina Models in New York City. Her first booking was for the cover of ESSENCE magazine which was one of the highest-selling covers in ESSENCE history. Although Cynthia is proud of her successful modeling career her greatest accomplishment is her daughter Noelle Forde Robinson. Currently, Cynthia stars on the hit reality show "The Real Housewices of Atlanta," and she is the CEO of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion.

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Dr. Cheruba Prabakar is a board certified OBGYN who specializes in treating women with fibroids, irregular bleeding, pelvic pain, and uterine prolapse. She is fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery and offers the latest treatments in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Dr. Prabakar is the author of several manuscripts and presents her work routinely in national conferences. She also serves as a television medical news contributor to ARISE America. Learn more at her website: www.drcheruba.com.

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Fawn Weaver is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of the Happy Wives Club, a community of nearly 1 million women in 110 countries around the world. HappyWivesClub.com is an upbeat blog dedicated to positively changing the tone about marriage. It attracts more than 7,000,000 visitors annually and was twice named #1 marriage website by About.com. When she’s not working on her next project, she's happily doting over her husband, Keith.

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Author of "Hope Beyond Fibroids: Stories of Miracle Babies and the Journey to Motherhood," Brand Strategist and Fertility Coach Gessie Thompson helps men and women navigate the challenges they encounter to conceive and carry their visions to full term. She has been featured in ESSENCE on “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show,” “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” ARISE TV, “The Frank Ski Morning Show” and more. Learn more at GessieThompson.com.

This event is free
Saturday 01:30PM
Empower U

India.Arie went from “singing under a tree in the park” to the Grammy Awards stage, earning seven nominations for her 2001 double platinum debut Acoustic Soul featuring her first hit single “Video."
India’s latest 5th and most recent album, "SongVersation", is a compelling snapshot of her breakthrough to personal and artistic growth on the other side of a self- imposed four- year hiatus. "SongVersation" finds India.Arie coming back full circle to the basics that captivated a global legion of fans.
Visit www.soulbird.com

This event is free
Friday 03:40PM
Empower U

From welfare mother to New York Times’ best-selling author, from the Brooklyn projects to two time winner NAACP Image Award, from broken pieces to peace, Iyanla Vanzant is one of the country’s most prolific writers, public speakers and among the most influential, socially engaged and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time.

Featured in CNN's "Black in America," Dr. Steve Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today. Founder of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in America, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

This event is free
Friday
Empower U

Kandi Burruss is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter who resides in Atlanta with her twelve-year-old daughter, Riley, step-daughter Kaela, and husband, Todd Tucker. A former member of the platinum-selling music group Xscape, Kandi earned a Grammy for her work on TLC's mega-hit "No Scrubs" and also wrote the number-one hits "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Bug A Boo" for Destiny's Child.  In 2000, Kandi became the first African-American woman ever to win the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. An entrepreneur at heart, in the television realm, Kandi has served as a Creator and Executive Producer of the record breaking Real Housewives Of Atlanta:  Kandi's Wedding, and The Kandi Factory.  The business mogul also owns T.A.G.S, which features it's own exclusive line and has new boutiques opening across the country, the digital show Kandi Koated Nights, has produced a musical, "A Mother's Love," and owns an award winning intimate luxury line, Bedroom Kandi, which has expanded into a in-home network. 

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

With her 1998 double-platinum debut, Soul of a Woman, featuring the record-breaking single, “Friend of Mine” 8x Grammy nominee Kelly Price made history by taking the #1 spot on Billboard’s singles chart without a video.
An accomplished writer and producer Price has collaborated with Mariah Carey, George Michael, Elton John, The Isley Brothers, Brian McKnight, R. Kelly, Sean “Diddy Combs, Faith Evans, Whitney Houston, Donnie McClurkin, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, James Brown and many others.

This event is free
Sunday
Empower U

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is an internationally known personal finance expert, and New York Times bestselling author who has written 12 money-management books. Lynnette is the CEO of TheMoneyCoach.net, LLC, a financial education company serving corporations, non-profits and consumers.Lynnette has appeared on The Steve Harvey Show, Oprah, MSNBC, CNN, The Today Show and many more TV programs.Read her advice on numerous sites, including her AskTheMoneyCoach.com blog.

This event is free
Thursday
Empower U

Melinda F. Emerson, “SmallBizLady” is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an expert on small business start up, business development, and social media marketing. Forbes magazine named her the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She publishes a resource blog http://succeedasyourownboss.com. Melinda is also the author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition" and the ebook "How To Become a Social Media Ninja."

This event is free
Sunday
Empower U

Television host, author and professional matchmaker Paul Carrick Brunson, has become recognized internationally as a successful matchmaker, life coach and TV personality.  Paul is the founder and president of the award-winning matchmaking firm, The Paul C. Brunson Agency.  In 2013, he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his Amazon Bestselling book, "It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern-Day Guide to Finding and Keeping Love."  You can currently find Paul weekly on Our World on TV One.  

This event is free
Friday
Empower U

Sarah Jakes Roberts is a highly sought after motivational speaker and bestselling author. Her first book, “Lost and Found” was released in 2014 and quickly became a bestseller. Sarah also leads a creative community of artists and professionals at One Church International alongside her husband, Touré Roberts, in Los Angeles. Learn more at sarahjakes.com.​

Touré Roberts is a bestselling author, founder of a non-profit for artists, and pastor who merges faith and multimedia into one dynamic calling. He is a prominent voice of vision, hope and purpose to Millennials and influencers in entertainment and is broadly sought after for his ability to speak into the lives of people to manifest their greatness. Touré teaches from One Church International, a progressive spiritual community in LA with numerous local members and online viewers.

This event is free
Sunday 01:30PM
Empower U

Shanti Das is a lifestyle and marketing disruptor! In 2009, she decided to take a different path. She took a HUGE leap of Faith and quit her job at Universal Motown to move back to her hometown of Atlanta.Through her music industry expertise, speaking engagements and social advocacy, she brokers deals and amplifies engagement between clients and their audiences— while inspiring a new generation of artists and execs to use their influence to serve their communities.

This event is free
Friday 2:35PM
Empower U

Shaun T is a world-renowned health and fitness expert & creator of the best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, HIP-HOP ABS and FOCUS T25. The NJ native received a BS in Sports Science with a minor in Theater and Dance from Rowan University. He’s shared the stage alongside Val Kilmer in the musical version of "The Ten Commandments," appeared in "Pippin and Applause" as well as "Six Feet Under" and the feature film "Beauty Shop." He’s danced with Mariah Carey, Aaron and Nick Carter, choreographed the NCAA Final Four Halftime Show and the movie "Bring It On: All or Nothing." Shaun’s passion is focused on affecting positive lifestyle changes in people around the world and proving that becoming the best version of yourself is attainable. Shaun T talks about fitness, motivation and living on his podcast “Define Your Life."

This event is free
Saturday 03:35PM
Empower U

Sheba Turk is an anchor of WWL-TV’s Eyewitness Morning News and the host of her own show, “The 504.” Sheba is from New Orleans and joined WWL as an associate producer for the morning show just a few months after graduating from college.She has transitioned from traffic and field reporting to anchoring. Sheba also mentors through Soledad O’Brien’s Starfish Foundation and is passionate about helping others find the confidence to pursue their dreams.

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Fisher Gilmore Matchmaking (FGM) is an exclusive agency of “heart hunters” led by The Matchmaking DUO™, Kelli Fisher & Tana Gilmore, Certified Relationship Coaches and Certified Matchmakers. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, FGM provides coaching and matchmaking services personally designed to accommodate busy professionals across the U.S. who are seeking long-term love. As Relationship Experts, The DUO is continuously sought after for speaking, training, and media appearances on industry-related topics.  Visit their website at www.thematchmakingduo.com.

This event is free
Saturday
Empower U

Tanika Gray Valbrun is the founder of The White Dress Project - a non-profit bringing awareness to the uterine fibroid condition.  Tanika was instrumental in passing legislation declaring July as “Fibroid Awareness Month” in the State of Georgia. She works as a News Editor for CNN where she has been awarded three coveted Peabody Awards for her contributions in journalism.  She received both Georgia Trend’s and Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2014 "40 under 40" Awards.

This event is free
Sunday 12:25PM
Empower U

Tanisha A. Sykes is a seasoned journalist with 20 years of experience. Known as a personal finance and careers expert, Sykes teaches millions how to achieve financial freedom. The former Senior Editor of Personal Finance & Careers for ESSENCE, Sykes discovered that women, in particular, prosper from step-by-step instruction, expert advice and success stories. With a quick wit and an inspiring tone, Sykes teaches you that when your change your mind, you change your money.

This event is free
Sunday @tlewislee
Empower U

Tonya Lewis Lee is an author, award-winning producer and Chief Creator of ToniK Productions. ToniK’s recent projects include "The Watsons Go To Birmingham," which Lee wrote, and which ToniK produced in conjunction with Walden Media for the Hallmark Channel as well as the film adaption of "The Giver," which ToniK produced in conjunction with Walden Media and The Weinstein Company. ToniK is currently in development on the adaptation of the young adult novels "Monster", by Walter Dean Myers, and "The Gallagher Girls" series, by Ally Carter. Lee is also Founder of HealthyYouNow, an e-commerce site featuring all things related to health, nutrition and wellness.

This event is free
Friday 04:15PM

Melanie Campbell is president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation & national convener, Black Women’s Roundtable. She was instrumental in leading numerous social change initiatives including advocating for the NFL to create a new personal code of conduct and fighting to get Loretta Lynch confirmed as U. S. Attorney General. She is a member of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Advisory Council, recently announced by President Obama, supporting young men and boys of color.

This event is free
Sunday 01:50PM

Tye Tribbett is one of the most relevant voices of this generation. His music cannot be classified as one genre, but his unique way encompasses all. Tye Tribbett exists as that radical entertainer who is shattering the mold of what is traditionally known as gospel music that reaches the masses. Tye Tribbett’s music has has helped redefine gospel music, and earned him two #1 albums, two Grammy Awards, two Stellar Awards and 1 Dove Award.

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