Essence Fest is bringing several of the Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential candidate slot face-to-face with the largest gathering of Black women in the country.
Announced today, the 2019 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola will host exclusive keynote conversations with five of the leading Democratic contenders in the 2020 presidential race, including Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kamala Harris, Former Representative Beto O’Rourke and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
These live ‘Presidential Spotlight’ segments will take place on Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, on the ESSENCE Power Stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Following the candidates’ remarks, a question-and-answer session with each will be led by the Reverend Al Sharpton, ESSENCE CEO Michelle Ebanks and Essence Ventures Founder and Chair Richelieu Dennis. The Q&A will feature questions generated directly from the ESSENCE community, which includes more than 24 million Black women.
The keynotes will be aired on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation With Al Sharpton.
“As we look toward the 2020 presidential election, the importance of Black women and their decisive role in the pathway to victory is undeniable,” said Michelle Ebanks, chief executive officer of Essence Communications. “We are thrilled to offer an opportunity at our 25th anniversary Essence Festival for our community to hear directly from some of the top candidates in the 2020 presidential field as they discuss issues that matter most to our community—and how their individual visions and policies align with those issues. As the largest annual gathering of Black women in the country, the Essence Festival is a powerful platform to engage this critically influential and diverse segment of voters, who have had historically high turnout in recent years. It is more clear today than ever that engaging with Black women in a meaningful way isn’t optional. It is necessary.”
Attracting an audience of 500,000-plus attendees over July Fourth weekend and a total economic impact of roughly $4 billion over 25 years, the Essence Festival has created a “home” for Black communities as the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience. Beyond its ongoing coverage of key civic participation and political news, ESSENCE utilizes its festival platform to go even deeper in its delivery of engagement and content that informs, enlightens and provides an open forum to discuss the issues of most importance to Black women, who represent a critical voting bloc wielding increased electoral influence.
The ‘Presidential Spotlight’ segments will take place throughout the day, with each candidate appearing for 20 minutes. Below is the order.
Saturday, July 6:
- Kamala Harris at 11:18am – 11:38am CT
- Cory Booker at 1:05pm – 1:25pm CT
- Elizabeth Warren at 2:52pm – 3:12pm CT
- Beto O’Rourke at 4:04pm – 4:24pm CT
Sunday, July 7:
- Pete Buttigieg at 11:00am – 11:20am CT
Attendance is free and open to the public at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. For more information, download the Essence Festival app or visit essence.com/festival.
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