From a press release

essence-festival-sign_400x295_9ESSENCE has announced an all-new and significantly expanded daytime experience, free and open to the public at the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans presented by Coca-Cola (June 30–July 3). The festival’s daytime programming connects culture and community with a rich and diverse slate of curated content across five programming tracks: Beauty & Style; Entrepreneurship, Money & Power; Entertainment All Access; Election 2016; and Empowerment & Inspiration.

In addition, the festival’s daytime experience offers an array of celebrity meet and greets, musical performances, interactive panel discussions and over 40 engaging activations hosted by ESSENCE corporate partners, which include Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s, State Farm, Verizon and Walmart.

“This year, we’ve expanded the footprint of our daytime experience by more than 125,000 square feet in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, increasing our programming offerings and curating more content than ever before,” said ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks. “The festival’s daytime programming spans five distinct tracks, featuring dozens of presentations focused on topics from owning your beauty to starting a business, to seeing your favorite celebrities and TV shows or learning about issues of importance in the presidential election.”

The ESSENCE Festival® daytime experience will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 1–3. Daytime festival highlights include:

  • ESSENCE Beauty & Style. Tutorials and seminars with celebrity beauty experts and icons, and fashion presentations with style trendsetters, complimentary style consultations, mini makeovers, giveaways and more with partners ESSENCE BeautyBox, Cantu, Carol’s Daughter, Crème of Nature, Dark and Lovely, Mizani, My Black Is Beautiful and Walmart, the Official Beauty Expo Retail Partner.
  • ESSENCE Entrepreneurship, Money & Power. Leap.Run.Grow. entrepreneurship curriculum in partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency, pitch competitions, financial empowerment seminars, tech talk keynotes and a career and recruitment experience with partners Alabama Power, NASA, the National Urban League, Prudential, Sam’s Club, State Farm, the U.S. Mint, Walmart, the U.S. Army, Time Inc. and Code 20/40.


  • ESSENCE Entertainment All Access. An exclusive first look at the hottest movies and TV shows and participation in cast talk-backs and appearances at Center Stage, the Fan Zone and the Screening Room with partners Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney Studios, FOX, HBO, Starz, OWN, WGN America, Fox Searchlight and Bentonville Film Festival, as well as the premiere of the latest episode of ESSENCE’sBlack Girl Magic, sponsored by Walmart.
  • ESSENCE Empowerment Experience. Keynotes and panels featuring today’s most prominent leaders, influencers and authors, such as Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland, Iyanla Vanzant and Rev. Al Sharpton, as well as a Mayor’s Panel, covering topics from income inequality to the Black women’s vote and the presidential election with partners Prudential and The Real.
  • ESSENCE Lifestyle Experience. ESSENCE’s lifestyle editors and industry experts showcase the best in health and wellness and encourage living a healthier and happier life with partners AARP; the City of New Orleans; Colgate; Durban, South Africa; and the State of Louisiana.
  • ESSENCE Inspiration (All-Star Gospel Tribute). Inspirational performances by top gospel artists, including Yolanda Adams and Kierra Sheard in tribute to The Clark Sisters with partner Walmart.
  • ESSENCE Eats. A taste of local cuisine, fellowship and celebrity chefs preparing their specialty dishes with partners Durban, South Africa; Walmart and Gold Peak.
  • ESSENCE Career Connection Recruitment Fair. Workplace skills and insights from career experts in partnership with the National Urban League, Time Inc. and the U.S. Army.
  • ESSENCE Day Parties. Party series featuring the hottest DJs and special celebrity guests with Everyday People and partners Starz and The Real.

In addition, the Shops at ESSENCE Marketplace and ESSENCE Community Corner will host more than 200 fine art exhibits and nonprofit organizations. Also taking place throughout the weekend will be a number of brand-sponsored events and engagements featuring Coca-Coal, Ford, McDOnald’s, State Farm and Verizon.