Speakers and performers appearing at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans July 4th weekend share their definition of empowerment.
Dr. Steve Perry
"Empowerment is about education. You cannot be empowered if you don't have information. What I love about the ESSENCE Festival is that attendees are empowered because they have access to a wealth of information that will enrich their lives." - Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School
"Empowerment starts with yourself. Before any empowerment is achieved, you have to find that inspiration and power. My parents made me feel very empowered from a young age. They pointed me in the right direction to find that love within myself." - Emeli Sandé, singer, songwriter
"Empowerment means taking control of yourself even with your health or spirituality. It's about looking at yourself and reevaluating what you need to do in life." - Traci Braxton, star of WEtv's "Braxton Family Values"
Tonya Lewis Lee
"When I think of empowerment I think of self responsibility and really harnessing one's own ability to be able to do not only for self, but for community." - Tonya Lewis Lee, author; founder of HealthyYouNow.com; spokesperson for "A Healthy Baby Begins with You" campaign
"I am blessed to be able to create music so that it will never be this hard for the people who come after me and have my heart and talent. It's about building a platform. And eventhough I'm young, it's about leaving a legacy." - Mali Music, singer, songwriter
"Empowerment is working towards what you want in life. My clients empower Body By Denise, my fitness center, to assist them with their fitness goals. We try to provide the necessary tools to enrich their lives toward a healthier lifestyle." - Denise Warren, founder of Body by Denise fitness center
"Music is my weapon of empowerment. I use music to empower myself and others. I've always been better at articulating myself through music rather than dialogue. It's empowering for me to know that a song can touch someone's life in a way that you didn't intend." - PJ Morton, singer, songwriter, keyboardist
"Music is a powerful tool. You can go to a different country (to sing) and they have no idea of what you're saying, but it speaks to them. It's a great way to get a message across." - Tamia, singer, songwriter
Photo by Ted Trent
"Empowerment means believing you can reach whatever it is you are trying to reach, whether that be a career path or a personal goal you set." - Faith Evans, singer, New York Times best-selling author, television producer and entrepreneur