With its list of performances, activities and cultural events, this year’s Essence Music Festival is set to offer attendees a phenomenal experience.

Kicking off on July 1 at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the three-day extravaganza will commence with a “Transforming Your Life” program featuring appearances from Steve Harvey and Iyanla Vanzant. Author Terry McMillan will also host a book club session with aspiring writers.

The following day, the festival will host a community segment with panel discussions from Tom Burrell, Dr. Cornel West, the Rev. Al Sharpton and more. A conversation on the portrayal of women in the media will also be held and will feature appearances from many African-American female reality stars.

Additionally, throughout the day, a bevy of African-American vendors from all over the world will present their crafts. Attendees can participate in celebrity meet-and greets, interactive sponsor presentations and author book signings.

The festival will also feature performances from numerous artists including Patti LaBelle, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Chaka Khan, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Marvin Sapp and many more.

“The Empowerment Experience is what truly separates Essence from other music festivals,” Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, said in a statement. “Our audience has the rare opportunity to have their voices heard-by engaging with some of our most influential thinkers and leaders, who are shaping conversations around the issues that matter most of our community.”

For more information on the Essence Music Fest, visit: www.essence.com/festival.

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