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Iyanla Vanzant and Rev. Al Sharpton among keynotes for star-studded ESSENCE Empowerment Experience

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 8:30 am

The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage, the core of the annual Essence Festival, will feature icons, newsmakers, national leaders, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, journalists, educators, and experts to showcase the many dimensions of the African-American community including

a central focus on information to improve women's day-to-day lives.

This year's 2013 Essence Empowerment Experience Stage highlights will include the return of Steve Harvey, who will host a live edition of his top-rated game show "Family Feud"; keynote conversations from Rev. Al Sharpton, Iyanla Vanzant, Marc Morial and Lisa Nichols; an historic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1963—the turning point in the Civil Rights Movement—with Rep. John Louis, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton and others; and a standing-room only All-Star Gospel Tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin with Yolanda Adams and Bishop Noel Jones. The Empowerment Experience Stage is held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the Great Hall from Thursday, July 4th through Sunday, July 7th from 11 AM to 5:00 PM. Doors will open at 9:30 AM on Thursday, July 4.

Dr. Steve Perry, Niecy Nash, Issa Rae, Roland Martin, Tonya Lewis Lee, DeVon

Franklin, Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Valerie Montgomery, Dr. Michael Lomax and Monique Greenwood are among the panelists who will discuss jobs and the economy, education, gun violence in our cities, the mortgage crisis, immigration, relationships, and images on reality television.

"Over the past four decades African-American women have made remarkable gains, enjoying high rates of socio-economic mobility and educational attainment. They are self-confident, optimistic, and joyful," says ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks.

"The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage programming strengthens our community bonds, and provides information that is critical to this continued success."

THURSDAY, JULY 4, 2013: NEW! FAMILY FOR LIFE

The Essence Empowerment Experience Stage will introduce its first-ever, free and open-to-the-public, "Family Reunion Day." Hosted by Master P. and his children, Romeo and Cymphonique, the day will center around a renewed focus on family. Celebrities and acclaimed, nationally recognized speakers such as Roland Martin, Dr.Steve Perry, Dr. Denese Shervington, Tonya Lewis Lee and Traci and Trina Braxton will participate.

FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2013: HEALTHY MIND, SPIRIT & RELATIONSHIPS

Hosted by "Steve Harvey Morning Show" personality and author Shirley Strawberry, festivalgoers will be able to attend seminars on healthy living in both mind and spirit. The morning will start with families competing on Steve Harvey's always amusing "Family Feud." In the afternoon, attendees will have the chance to hear firsthand from Kenya Moore, Shaunie O'Neal, Andrea Kelly, Chanté Moore and Monifah in "The Real Truth Behind Reality TV." We will also get tips on how to be sexy at any age with our panel that includes Nicole Murphy, Victoria Rowell, Dr. Rachael Ross and Mayte Garcia. Attendees will also gain vital strategies on how to "Own Your Power" featuring Transformation Specialist Lisa Nichols. ESSENCE Editor-at-Large

Mikki Taylor will lead a timely discussion on "Putting Ourselves First," and breakout "Young & The Restless" star Redaric Williams will be one of the men who will talk "Sex & Love: On His Mind."

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2013: BE FEARLESS IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Discussions on civil rights, education and women's rights underscore the social and cultural significance of today's seminars. With keynote speakers Iyanla Vanzant and Reverend Al Sharpton, Saturday, July 6, 2013 will be an unforgettable day of ideas, innovation and solutions to critical issues in the Black community. Many of the nation's top mayors will discuss ending gun violence; Dr. Steve Perry will lead a discussion with real-life education activist mothers who will show mothers how to successfully navigate public and private school systems; top Black women entrepreneurs will share the secrets of their success in building their own brands and giving back; Rep. John Lewis will salute Women Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including eagerly anticipated remarks from Myrlie Evers-Williams on the 50th anniversary of 1963—the turning point year in The Movement; and will conclude with the country's top thinkers on a wide range of issues from the mortgage

crisis to immigration in The Black Women's Agenda 2013.

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013: THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRAISE & INSPIRATION

Journalist and author Cheryl Wills returns as host for the standing room only "Get Lifted All-Star Gospel Tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin" with Yolanda Adams, Bishop Lester Love, Michelle Williams, Tasha Cobbs, Amber Bullock,Tyronne Foster and The Arc Singers, Kurt Carr, Isaac Carree, Kim Burrell, Bishop Noel Jones and many more.

For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE FESTIVAL, visit ESSENCE Festival www.essencefestival.com. Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2013 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.

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