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FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Empowerment

This event is free
Friday
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
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
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
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
Friday
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
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 03:40PM
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
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
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 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
Friday 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
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
Friday
Empowerment

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 can be seen on Bravo's hit reality show, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

This event is free
Friday
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
Friday 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
Friday
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.

Empower U

This event is free
Friday
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. 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
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
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
Friday
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.

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