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FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

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ALL EVENTS ARE FREE; DOORS OPEN AT 9:00AM ON THURSDAY - SATURDAY, AND 8:00AM ON SUNDAY
Location: Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70130
    TOPICS DISCUSSED
  • Family Feud Hosted by Steve Harvey - Click here for more info.
  • I Beat: Health, Journeys & Transformations - Click here for more info.
  • The Real Truth on Reality TV - Click here for more info.
  • Sexy at Any Age: Embrace Your Inner Naughty Girls - Click here for more info.
  • A Moment with a Breakthrough Specialist - Click here for more info.
  • Putting Ourselves First - Click here for more info.
  • Sex & Love: On His Mind - Click here for more info.

FRIDAY, JULY 4

Empowerment

This event is free
Friday 2:35PM
Empowerment

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)

This event is free
Friday 1:30PM
Empowerment

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.”

This event is free
Friday 3:30PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 5:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 5:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:10AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:10AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 10:05AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 1:30PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 4:45PM
Empowerment

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.”

This event is free
Friday 5:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 2:40PM
Empowerment

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.

Kym
This event is free
Friday 1:30PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 2:35PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:00AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 2:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 1:30PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 3:05PM
Empowerment

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. 

This event is free
Friday 4:50PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:30AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 12:40PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 12:40PM
Empowerment

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. 

This event is free
Friday 4:50PM
Empowerment

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)

This event is free
Friday 11:00AM
Empowerment

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)

This event is free
Friday 10:00AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 2:35PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 1:30PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 5:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 4:10PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:30AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 5:15PM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 4:30PM
Empowerment

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.)

This event is free
Friday 11:00AM
Empowerment

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.

This event is free
Friday 11:30AM
Empowerment

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.

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