Location: Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70130
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. Find the Bombshell Whisper’s award-winning advice, online classes and web series at AbiolaTV.com where she’s ready to help you live your most passionate life!
Adaora Udoji has served as Interim President of News Deeply, an award winning impact media startup focused on complex global issues. She’s an award-winning journalist having reported and anchored for ABC News, CNN and public radio. A lawyer, she’s also a global nomad having lived or worked in the U.S., Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. She was once a competitive ice skater but today sticks to yoga and swimming.(Also see Adaora Udoji speak during the American Cancer Society segment Saturday, July 5 at 11:15AM)
HIV advocate Alicia Keys will join with Greater Than AIDS and ESSENCE to headline a special ESSENCE Empowerment Experience panel on Friday, July 4th in New Orleans on “Through Love of Self, Family and Community, Empowering Black Women to End AIDS.”
Motown Gospel’s Grammy- nominated singer Anita Wilson first found notoriety as part of the Grammy-nominated ensemble Donald Lawrence & Company, Wilson’s beeline to the solo stage – via her debut album WORSHIP SOUL. Wilson’s WORSHIP SOUL was 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" in 2013 by JET Magazine. Wilson’s forthcoming project VINTAGE WORSHIP drops June 24th.
Beverly Bond is a dynamo in true form having blazed trails in the music, entertainment and social entrepreneurship industries. In 2006, Bond founded BLACK GIRLS ROCK! a global movement designed to empower, educate, and inspire women and girls. Bond is also the creator of the two-time NAACP award winning BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards on BET. Bond’s outstanding work continues to make her one of the most celebrated DJs, producers and social innovators of our time.
Lester Love serves as the Lead Pastor of The City of Love, a New Orleans church that he is blessed to serve and lead. He also serves as Executive Secretary for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International where Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. is his Spiritual Father. Love is an acclaimed author and vocalist. He has garnered national attention for his “Love Songs” YouTube clip, which has surpassed 3 million views.
As CEO and founder of TDJ Enterprises, T.D. Jakes leads a multimedia empire that spans more than 30 books; to date his films have generated in excess of $100 million, and an international speaking platform that draws crowds up to 800,000. Jakes also runs a record label, develops inspirational radio and TV programming, and hosts a weekly talk show for BET. Also under his aegis is the T.D. Jakes School of Leadership to train leaders. www.tdjakes.com.
Charreah K. Jackson shares a message of empowerment through love as the Relationships Editor for ESSENCE magazine. She is also the creator of BossBride.com, a love and career advice site for women. Charreah speaks around the country and is a featured expert on CNN, ABC News and WEtv. The National Association of Professional Women named her a 2014 Woman of the Year.
Born in Louisiana and raised in Texas, Carolyn picked up most of her culinary skills from her mother, Angelina Zeno and grandmothers, all of whom were Creoles (French speaking African-Americans). She has a passion for cooking and sharing healthy ways to modify "Traditional Creole & Cajun Dishes.” Over the years Chef Carolyn has owned Creole restaurants in Atlanta and Houston. She is also a manners and etiquette consultant for at risk youth, in association with Dickie Brennan’s Tableau Restaurant of New Orleans. Carolyn is most recognized locally for her cooking demonstrations on KLFY-TV10’s show, “Passe Partout.” She is also a Demonstrator for a series of cooking shows on EHOW and she has a cooking DVD on How to make Gumbo as well. In addition, Chef Carolyn is co-author of "34 Ways To Be A Lady And A Gentleman" an etiquette book which focuses on self-respect, motivation, and manners.
Roblé Ali has become one of the most recognizable young African-Americans in the culinary world with national notoriety. Roblé launched his catering business, Roblé & Co. With his unique team of talented chefs and event producers, Roblé creates captivating, one of a kind dining experiences for high-end clientele across the country. The launch of his business was captured in Bravo’s culinary docudrama, Chef Roblé & Co.
Chenoa Maxwell, star of "Love in the City" on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, is an acclaimed actress, photographer and producer. Chenoa first burst into stardom for her memorable roles in the film "Hav Plenty" and the breakout TV series "Girlfriends." Her renowned photography has been featured in global campaigns and exhibits including a rare portrait shoot of Annie Leibovitz. The embodiment of Living Limitlessly™, Chenoa is also the creator/executive producer and host of the anticipated celebrity web series, Closet Talk™ where celebrity guests are invited into her much-coveted closet to push the boundaries of conventional thinking through candid, inspiring dialogue.
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. Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak before the United Nations General Assembly for the International Remembrance of The Transatlantic Slave Trade. Cheryl has made cameo appearances in this summer’s blockbuster Spiderman 2, Law & Order: SVU, Freedomland and The Brave One. Find out more about Cheryl's book at www.diefreethebook.com.
Church Friends consists of singers & musicians who all met through a number of music & church affiliations. "One day, I realized that we always 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, make music..." said George Young, the founder. They have collectively shared the stage with Grammy-award winners Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin & The Clark Sisters, just to name a few! "Our goal is to tell the world about what keeps us all going...not just music, not just church, but God!"
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 Committee. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters also serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Congressional Black Caucus. Before her election to Congress, Rep. Waters served 14 years in the California State Assembly.
Cynthia is one of the stars of BRAVO'S hit reality TV show THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA, and the CEO of The Bailey Agency a School of Fashion. She is married to restauranteur Peter Thomas, the owner of Atlanta's hot spot BAR ONE. Cynthia's biggest accomplishment is her 14 year old daughter Noelle Forde Robinson. They reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
David Johns is executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Prior to joining the Department, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of Sen. Tom Harkin. Before working for the Senate HELP committee under Chairman Harkin. Johns served under the leadership of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
DeLano Ford grew up within a supportive, loving community in NC but realized that successful completion of high school did not prepare him for Morehouse once he arrived. Eventually graduating with honors, DeLano committed to finding solutions to educational inequity. Prior to joining TFA, he was Deputy Superintendent of Transformation with the Louisiana Recovery School District and the COO of KIPP New Orleans. DeLano graduated from Morehouse and earned an MBA from Cornell University.
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. Shervington is a graduate of New York University School of Medicine; she completed her residency in Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Shervington is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Sophistication meets Crunk! That best describes DJ Bambam Belonge, New Orleans native and veteran of its radio and entertainment scene. This energetic and sharply dressed DJ is one of the hottest and best mixers in the Crescent City, rocking crowds at many of the most prominent venues and events for years! Bambam's career includes 14 years at the historic 98.5 WYLD where his smooth, distinctive voice and warm personality made him a New Orleans’ favorite.
DJ Hektik - THE MUSIC-MIX MONARCH. This renowned turntablist has a vast track record of successful mix-cd compilations both independently and in collaboration beside a host of accomplished American-Southern recording artists. DJ Hektik is a well-respected authority on blending and breaking in hits including New Orleans' distinct “Brass” and bourgeoning “Bounce” music. Not only is DJ Hektik a showman but also a motivational example of hope; dedicated to the artistic and cultural landscape of schools & youth throughout communities. Particularly to his merit, DJ Hektik is featured on exhibit as Music Ambassador with the New Orleans Society of Dance at the Presbytere; Louisiana State Museum.
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 60 U.S. markets; Jamaica, The Bahamas and London, England. The DMS airs daily on WBLS in New York City and is rated #1 in the highly coveted 25-54 age demographic. www.donnieradio.com.
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. Highly sought after as a media expert, she’s appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, Disney Jr.'s DocMcStuffins, BET’s 106&Park, HuffPost Live, and many other outlets. Dr. Maybank is both a pediatrian and a preventive medicine physician with degrees from Johns Hopkins, Temple, and Columbia Universities.
Dr. Moreno is a Researcher, Clinician, and the Director of HIV Testing at Louisiana State University. With both domestic and global expertise, she is passionate about improving HIV testing and prevention and the marked disparities that characterize the incidence, prevalence and access to care for people of color seeking prevention education, testing and treatment.
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. Sherry is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in Atlanta and is among the most highly sought-after media experts in the area of mental health. She equips, inspires, and empowers people to reach their goals in their lives. Her work has encompassed everyone from celebrities in the entertainment, news, and sports arena to everyday people. Dr. Sherry successfully combines a direct style, skilled techniques, and a touch of humor to make talking with her non-threatening. Dr. Sherry appeared as the relationship expert on seasons 1-3 of Wetv’s “Braxton Family Values” and seasons 5&6 of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
Dr. Steve Perry is the Founder and Principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. His school has been recognized by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools. Dr. Perry is also the author of "Push Has Come to Shove" and the bestselling book "Man Up!" Dr. Perry is a CNN and MSNBC contributor and a sought-after speaker. He is also the host of TV One television show “Save my Son”.
Dr. Wanda E. Ward is Head of the National Science Foundation’s Office of International and Integrative Activities. She has served on the U.S. President's National Science and Technology Council subcommittees in the social and behavioral sciences and science education. She was elected a member of the International Social Science Executive Committee (2013-2016). Ward took the BA in psychology from Princeton University and the PhD in psychology from Stanford University. She has received numerous awards including the 2006 Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Richard T. Louttit Award and the 2006 U.S. Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive.
Edith Johns has amassed decades of knowledge navigating school systems in and surrounding Los Angeles, California to ensure educational excellence for her son, David J. Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, daughter Melinda Johns, an optician and granddaughter Jordyn Stone a 6th grader. A fierce advocate for access to high quality educational opportunities, Ms. Johns was born in Austin, Texas, attended Northridge University, and currently resides in Inglewood, California.
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. In addition to her debut; Erica stars in her hit WEtv reality show “Mary Mary,” which is in its third season and continues to travel with Mary Mary. Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell broke through in 2000 with the pioneering hit “Shackles (Praise You).” Mary Mary has earned numerous Stellar Music & Dove Awards; and 4 Grammy Awards, 3 NAACP Image Awards, 2 American Music Awards, a Soul Train Award and a BET Award.(Also see Erica Campbell perform during the Yolanda Adams Gosepel Tribute on Sunday, July 6 at 5:10PM)
Glinda Bridgforth is a financial expert from Oprah's widely popular "Debt Diet" series. She is author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight!; Girl, Get Your Credit Straight! and coauthor of Girl, Make Your Money Grow!. As a keynote speaker, her clients include Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profit organizations, women’s groups, universities, and churches. Bridgforth is on the Board of Directors of Green Dot Bank and a member of their Community Reinvestment Act Committee.
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, including her latest—Forgiveness, 21 days to forgive everyone for everything. With Iyanla's no-nonsense approach and underlying message of “live better by loving yourself,” she has ignited the universal spark of self-discovery.
Ministry is embedded in the heart & soul of Houston, TX native James Fortune. His desire to serve God evolved out of the intimate relationship he developed in his youth. The performer, songwriter, producer, arranger & nationally-syndicated radio host has full clarity in the use of his gifts. With the two-disc release of his 4th album Live Through It, James Fortune & FIYA deliver a full worship driven experience.
Hailing from south Florida, Joe Warren is a budding actor in the thriving Atlanta film and TV communities. Following a successful military commitment, he was poised to join the Atlanta Police Department until his family (particularly his mother) urged him to pursue a career in acting and modeling. Since then, ESSENCE Magazine and ESSENCE Online have featured him in their "Eye Candy" pictorials. He has also appeared on multiple romance book covers and landed a recurring role on Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots.
John Hope Bryant is the author of the #1 book on Poverty in the world today, "How the Poor Can Save Capitalism." He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. Bryant is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Youth and one of the foremost authorities on poverty eradication and financial empowerment. He has received more than 500 awards and citations for his advocacy work, including Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award.
Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Jonathan McReynolds, has been wowing the industry and earning new fans since the release of his debut album, Life Music, in 2012. Since then, he's garnered both Dove and Stellar Award nominations and BET named McReynolds as one of their "Music Matters" artists in 2014. A Chicago native, McReynolds is currently working on his second album and will make his debut appearance at the 2014 Essence Music Festival.
Joy Reid is host of “The Reid Report” weekdays at 2 p.m. et on MSNBC. Previously, Reid was the Managing Editor of theGrio.com and the editor of the political blog The Reid Report. In 2004, Reid served as the Florida deputy communications director for 527 "America Coming Together" and was a press aide for President Barack Obama's Florida campaign in 2008. Reid is a Harvard University graduate and a Knight Center for Specialized Journalism fellow.
Karen Carter Peterson represents New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana State Senate. She is immediate past Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Caucus and the current chair of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children. She also serves on the Senate Judiciary B, Insurance and Municipal Committees. In 2012, she won the Chair position of the Louisiana Democratic Party, the first woman in Louisiana history to do so. In 2013, Peterson was appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the DNC Credentials Committee. She was also elected to serve as Vice-President of the Association of Democratic Party Chairs. She work in private legal practice as Counsel with Dentons, LLC.
For over 10 years, twin sisters Brandi and Karlie Harvey have used their voices to empower women of all ages to live their truth with confidence. As Executive Director of The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, Brandi leads with love, driven by her passion to better serve humanity. As Creative Diretor for The Steve Harvey Women's Collection, Karli uses her flair to teach women on any budget the principals of great style.
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). Kierra stars in the hit BET docu-series “The Sheards” w/her family, back for Season 2. Kierra is also a new judge on BET’s Sunday’s Best. Kierra’s new hot cd, “Graceland” releases July 22nd 2014.
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. Burrell is currently serving her 4th season as mentor for BET’s Sunday Best show. There are no limits to what the future holds for this versatile singer/actress.
The name Kim Kimble, star of WE tv’s L.A. Hair, has been synonymous with beauty and glamour for over a decade, and today she continues to raise the bar as one of the most acclaimed celebrity hair gurus in the business. Kimble has developed a niche for creating scene-stealing, high concept looks adorned by the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Shakira, the late Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Sade, and Britney Spears.(Also see Kim Kimble speak on the "Beauty of Confidence" panel Friday, July 4 at 11:30PM.)
Kimberly Worthy is an educator, curriculum developer, and a tireless advocate for educational excellence in urban schools. She has taught for 14 years, most recently at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science in Washington, D.C., where she developed STEM curriculum in her Social Science and ELA classroom. Kimberly was honored with the “2009 District of Columbia State Teacher of the Year” award, and currently serves as Special Assistant for Howard University’s Office of Undergraduate Studies.
Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization introducing girls of color ages 7-17 to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Under Bryant’s leadership, Black Girls CODE has grown from a local organization serving only the Bay Area, to an international non-profit organization in seven U.S. cities and Johannesburg, South Africa. Black Girls CODE is now serving over 2000 African/African-American, Latina, and Native American girls.
Kym moved to Texas in 2005, where she met the man she would marry five years later. Within the first year of their marriage he revealed that he was HIV positive and had known this for more than ten years. Kym immediately went to get tested, and her results were positive. Through her work with the Greater Than AIDS / Alicia Keys EMPOWERED campaign, she is passionate about ending the silence and shame that still too often surrounds HIV/AIDS.
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 series’ second season. Today, Latice is celebrating the success of her debut album, Latice Crawford (January 2014) and touring the country with gospel artists like Marvin Sapp.
Lauren N. Williams is the news editor of ESSENCE magazine. She's responsible for assigning various in-depth feature stories, profiles, special reports and commentaries for the news section and feature well. Previously, Williams was at More, where she covered entertainment and culture as associate editor. Prior to this, she was an editorial assistant at Marie Claire, where she edited several front-of-book pages and wrote across the international news, lifestyle, and career sections. She also helped launch the magazine’s periodical career supplement, Marie Claire @Work. In addition, Williams has worked in marketing at Redbook and Harper’s Bazaar. A native of Brooklyn, she holds a B.A. from Georgetown University.
Lisa Nichols is CEO of Motivating the Masses, one of the top training and development companies in the world, a best-selling author of 6 books and one of the most sought-after transformational speakers whose global platform has reached and served millions. Ms. Nichols' extraordinary story of transforming her own life from a struggling single mom on public assistance from South Central Los Angeles to now Millionaire Entrepreneur is the inspiration behind her bold mission to teach others that it is possible to do the same. Using her signature No Matter What! system (and based on her New York Times Bestseller by the same name), Lisa teaches people how to master accomplishing unfathomable goals and to tap their limitless potential.
Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne heads the Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. He previously served as Secretary of State and spent 15 years in the State Senate. He introduced the Pick Your Passion brand for Louisiana tourism which has enjoyed back-to-back record-setting years. He conducts many special presentations about Louisiana including “Why Louisiana Ain’t Mississippi”, a lively and colorful look at Louisiana’s culture, history, music, literature and politics.
Lucia K. McBath is the mother of Jordan Davis who, at the age of 17, was shot and killed at Gate Gas Station in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 2012. Lucia is the national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In her work as a gun safety advocate, she has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and Georgia and Florida State Legislature Committee Hearings. Lucia has been employed by Delta Airlines In-Flight Service for 30 years.
As President of the National Urban League since 2003. Marc H. Morial has been the primary catalyst for an era of change -- a transformation for the century-old civil rights organization. His energetic and skilled leadership has expanded the League’s work around an Empowerment agenda, which is redefining civil rights in the 21st century with a renewed emphasis on closing the economic gaps between Whites and Blacks as well as rich and poor Americans.(Also see Marc Morial during the National Urban League segment on Friday, July 4 at 11:PM)
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. Holding a Master’s degree in Urban Planning, the USC Alumna is focused on progress and community empowerment, utilizing the “New Vision for Compton” as the vehicle that will rebrand and reestablish the City of Compton as a thriving community.
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. Mayor Reed is also Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Mitchell J. Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010, with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for the people of New Orleans. Through his first term, Landrieu delivered major victories that laid the groundwork for transformational change in critical sectors. Prior to serving as Mayor, Landrieu served as Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana for six years and as a State legislator for 16 years. Mayor Landrieu was reelected to a second term as Mayor of New Orleans on February 1, 2014.
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. In 2013, she presented, Change to Grow: A Ten-Year Financial Plan, the City’s first long-range financial plan. Rawlings-Blake is secretary of the Democratic National Committee and Second Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Melanie L. Campbell, is the president and CEO of theNational Coalition on Black Civic Participation and national convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable. She is recognized as one of the hardest working leaders in today’s Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Social Justice Movements. She recently released the BWR inaugural Black Women in the U.S. Report, 2104. She is a contributing writer and regularly featured on radio, TV and print media on issues impacting Black America.
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. In addition to being a regular columnist for the New York Times, she is frequently quoted by other media organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, MSNBC and Fox News. Melinda’s small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. She is the host of #Smallbizchat, the longest running live chat on Twitter for small business owners. Forbes magazine named her the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She publishes a resource blog www.smallbizlady.com which is syndicated by the Huffington Post. Melinda is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months and the ebook How To Become a Social Media Ninja. Melinda is the founder and president of the Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA. Notable Clients Include: Pitney Bowes, American Express, Dell, Staples, Sam’s Club, Chase Bank, Facebook, FedEx, IKEA, Verizon, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.(Also see Melinda F. Emerson at the Chevron Powermoves Pitch Session on Saturday, July 5 at 12:10PM.)
Melissa Harris-Perry is the host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry," which airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-12pm ET. Melissa and her show have been widely praised for thoughtful analysis and discussion of cultural and political trends. Harris-Perry is also a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University, where she was named a Presidential Chair. In addition, Harris-Perry is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South.
Member of internationally acclaimed female group Destiny’s Child. Hit-making solo singer in her own right. Stage actress (“Aida,” “The Color Purple, “Chicago,” “Fela!”). But it’s a different Michelle Williams who will be greeting longtime fans and winning over new ones with her first album in five years, Journey to Freedom. Arriving in 2014 via eOne Music, the urban inspirational project deftly showcases the singer’s natural talent and versatility. As Williams simply notes, “This is what’s in my heart.” The result is an arresting fusion of R&B, hip-hop, pop, dance and African-influenced beats and rhythms paired with relatable messages about faith, inner strength, patience and joy.
For over 30 years, Mikki Taylor was ESSENCE Magazine’s groundbreaking Beauty & Cover Director and is now Editor-at-Large. Taylor is the President of Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC, a full-service image building and communications company. Taylor offers beauty, style and empowerment strategies through all types of media. 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.
Edward Lewis is co-founder of Essence Communications Inc. During his 35 years as Chairman, CEO and Publisher, he nurtured Essence into a media powerhouse, addressing the needs of black women. Lewis is also a co-founder of Latina, the first lifestyle magazine to exclusively address the interests of U.S. Hispanic women. Lewis was recently inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame and will receive the IPPIES Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently Senior Advisor to Solera Capital.
Professional film and television makeup artist, Nikki I Brown has worked in the business for more than eight years. Nikki is a licensed esthetician and cosmetologist who brings creativity and professionalism to every project she is involved in. She has worked with a wide array of actors, actresses, and musicians throughout her career. Nikki has worked on over forty feature films, television projects, and music videos. The Great Debaters, The Expendables, Looper, Last Exorcism 2, Hours, Treme, and 12 Years A Slave are just a few of the projects that she has been a part of.
Pamela Edwards Christiani serves as Beauty and Style Director of ESSENCE, where she oversees both the beauty and style departments. In this role, she leads her team to create solution-oriented content for ESSENCE’s readers, in addition to synchronizing digital and print coverage of the magazine’s beauty and style sections. Most recently, she served as Style and Beauty editor of PEOPLE, where she covered celebrity beauty and fashion, both on and off the Red Carpet.
Patrik Henry Bass is an award-winning writer and editor, with an extensive background in publishing covering books, history, lifestyle and popular culture. Bass currently serves as editorial projects director at ESSENCE Magazine. Bass is the author of Like A Mighty Stream, The March on Washington, August 28, 1963 (Running Press, 2002). The Zero Degree Zombie Zone, his first children’s book, will be released on August 26, 2014 from Scholastic Press.
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.(Also see Rev. Al Sharpton moderate the '"What's At Stake II" Panel Saturday, July 5 at 12:20P.M.)
Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” has led the broadcast to win three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program. Roberts was recognized with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs in July 2013 for the strength and courage she has displayed throughout her life and career. She is an active speaker for charity and civic functions. Roberts is the author of the New York Times best selling memoir, Everybody's Got Something.
Roland Martin currently serves as TV One’s political editor, senior analyst of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and host of News One Now on TV One. Martin is an acclaimed journalist winning more than 30 professional awards for journalistic excellence, including becoming NABJ's 2013 Journalist of the Year, the organizations most coveted honor; a regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television News Directors and the National Association of Minorities in Cable among many others.
Sally-Ann Roberts co-anchors WWL-TV Eyewitness Morning News, the highest rated television morning newscast in Louisiana. The Louisiana Association of Broadcasters honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Roberts holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and an honorary Doctorate from Our Lady of Holy Cross College. She is the author of Your Power is On... A Little Book of Hope. She thanks God for being able to be her sister Robin Roberts’ bone marrow. donor.
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. Sarah is an author and will release her first book, "Lost and Found" on April 1, 2014. Sarah is a highly sought after motivational speaker and mother of two. Learn more at sarahjakes.com.
Sharon Boone believes every woman deserves the best of everything. As Senior Health & Relationships Editor, she shares information on health and wellness, and spearheads coverage on food and drinks. Sharon is the creator of TheLUSHiouslife.com, a site dedicated to cocktails, spirits and living the good life. In 2014, Planned Parenthood named her one of their 98 Dreamkeepers for her work in encouraging women to take control of their health.
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, Renewed. The success of that project firmly established her as one of the great power vocalists of the contemporary Gospel age, while earning a GRAMMY ® nomination.With her sophomore album, Power & Authority – LIVE in Memphis, Sheri confirms her status as a seasoned artist with trademark vocal inflections, distinct melodies, and life-changing messages. The 10-song project, produced by Grammy-award-winning producer Myron Butler, serves as tribute to a musical journey of more than 20 years, while testifying to this unique moment in Sheri’s artistry.
Emmy Award-winner Sherri Shepherd’s magnetic personality and hilarious sense of humor never fails to delight. In addition to being a co-host on the "The View,” Sherri is also an accomplished comedienne, film and television actress. Sherri authored the New York Times Bestselling PLAN D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes Even If You Don’t Have Itand created a high fashion wig collection, “Luxhair Now by Sherri Shepherd™.”
Soledad O'Brien is an award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, and producer. In June 2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal stories. Through Starfish Media Group, O’Brien has partnerships for content distribution with CNN, HBO, NatGeo and Al Jazeera America.(Also see Soledad O'Brien moderate the "Sisters In The Name of Love" panel on Friday, July 4 at 12:40PM)
Steve Harvey is a media conglomerate personified in a man who has found success as an actor, writer and producer. His career has continued to flourish, becoming a top-rated radio host, fashion entrepreneur, bestselling author, popular game show host on Family Feud, and host of his own daytime television show. The Steve Harvey Morning Show allowed him to share relationship advice with his listeners through the “Strawberry Letter” segment, where he responds to relationship questions. This segment’s popularity led to a book deal with HarperCollins. His first book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, was released on January 27, 2009. Selling over 2.8 million copies worldwide thus far, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man has hit #1 in the US, Dubai, Malaysia, South Africa and other places, been translated into over 30 languages, and adapted into a major motion picture by Screen Gems Pictures.(Also see Steve Harvey and Lisa Harvey speak during their Act Like A Success segment on Saturday, July 5 at 1:10PM)
Tamica Lee is the founder of Advance Dance Agency, a TV personality, and Traffic Reporter and for the #1 morning news show in New Orleans, WWLTV. Lee was also a member of the New Orleans Saintsations from 2001-2005, and now current coach. Tamica also works with her families non- profit organization Son of a Saint in New Orleans in legacy of her father the late New Orleans Saints Bivian Lee.
Tamika D. Mallory is a nationally recognized civil rights activist and a fiery and outspoken champion for social justice. Her tireless activism earned her public praise as “a leader of tomorrow” by Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie B. Jarrett. Founder of Mallory Consulting, a strategic planning firm in New York City, she is a regular contributor for Essence Magazine and NewsOne.com, and has been featured on national outlets such TV One, CNN, MSNBC and BET. Known for her anti-violence work, she is currently co-chair of an initiative of New York City, Gun Violence Awareness Month.
Teresa is the proud mother of Marteniz, a young gay man who is living with HIV. When her then 18-year-old son told her he was positive, she admits she did not know much about HIV As a mother, her first concern was for her son. Today, as a Greater Than AIDS ambassador, Teresa is an inspiring example of the power of love AND knowledge in the face of this disease.
Newly appointed as co-anchor on the acclaimed E! News, charismatic Terrence “J” Jenkins is no stranger to the hosting world after seven years on BET’s 106 & PARK. As television and film actor, he has had roles in BAGGAGE CLAIM and THINK LIKE A MAN, and he reprises his role in THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, hitting theaters June 2014. The philanthropist and author’s first literary work, THE WEALTH OF MY MOTHER’S WISDOM, was published in October 2013.
TERRY McMILLAN fell in love with books as a teenager while working at the local library. She studied journalism at UC Berkeley and screenwriting at Columbia before making her fiction debut with Mama, which won both the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award. She is also the author of best-selling novels Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, The Interruption of Everything and Getting to Happy. She has been recognized with an NAACP Image Award and the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Literature. She lives in Los Angeles.
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. Worship, contemporary gospel and a blend of urban pop comes alive with their charming charisma and stage presence. "Perfect People" is the debut single from The Walls Group’s forthcoming album.
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. Tiffanies passion for cocktails, beer and wine along with southern hospitality have soared into glasses all over the south. According to Forbes, GQ, Esquire, NY Times, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution she takes her hospitality and craft to the heart. Tiffanie enjoys adding creativity derived from day to day energy, the equinox, and her creole roots. Fun, savory, bold and colorful represent her up bringing along with her service on the bar. The Drinking Coach is her city name for more than a few reasons, however leading by example with a great word of advice or hug before you leave her is a typical experience.
Tomiko Fraser Hines is best known for her eight-year role as the first African-American spokesperson for Maybelline New York. She has done runway, print, and television campaigns for some of the world’s top brands, and has appeared in movies and on television series. Tomiko is an advocate for women’s empowerment. Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, she currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and twin sons.
Tyler Lepley grew up as an only child in Philadelphia and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in personal training, which ultimately led him to the path of acting. Tyler currently stars on the hit series “The Haves and The Have Nots” created by Tyler Perry on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and has appeared in movies such as FOX Searchlight film “Baggage Claim” with Taye Diggs, Paula Patton, Tia Mowry, and Derek Luke.
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. Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the main source that keeps them going.
Van Jones is a visionary leader at the forefront of the social, economic, environmental and racial justice movements of the last 20 years. Van is the founder of #YesWeCode, a national initiative to help train 100,000 low-opportunity youth code to become high-level computer coders. Van also founded Green For All, a national organization committed to providing green jobs to disadvantaged communities, as well as The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change. He can currently be seen on CNN's Crossfire.(Also see Van Jones speak at the "Yes We Code" segment on Sunday, July 6 at 10:55AM.)
Vanessa Bush is editor-in-chief of ESSENCE, responsible for overseeing the content and vision for the preeminent magazine for Black women. Bush joined ESSENCE more than a decade ago as Beauty and Fashion Features Editor. In 2003, she was named Lifestyle Editor and was promoted to Executive Editor in 2005. Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life and Glamour. She is also the coauthor of the best-selling beauty and empowerment book, Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out. Bush received a B.A., cum laude, in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and a M.S. in magazine concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Wendy Raquel Robinson, a cum laude graduate of Howard University, 2014 NAACP Image Award recipient, and known for her groundbreaking role as the feisty, beautiful, “Tasha Mack” on BET’s #1 scripted series, “The Game. Robinson is one of Hollywood’s busiest sweethearts, yet she finds time to give back to the community through Amazing Grace Conservatory, a performing arts school that focuses on youth interested in theatrical, performing arts.
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 www.SimplyYolanda.com 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”