Oprah Winfrey Will Make First-Ever Appearance at 2016 ESSENCE Festival + Ava DuVernay Bringing 'Queen Sugar' + More

April 20 2017


Organizers of Time Inc.’s ESSENCE Festival today announced that, for the first time in the event’s 21-year history, Oprah Winfrey will appear at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, presented by Coca-Cola, on Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 4pm at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Winfrey joins speakers Bishop T.D. Jakes, Ava DuVernay, Rev. Al Sharpton, Misty Copeland and Tyra Banks, as well as performers Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell, Puff Daddy and The Family and many more at the annual event – recognized as the nation’s largest gathering of African American women.

Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey

“Oprah’s message of inspiration is universal and, through her life’s work, she has influenced women and girls across the globe,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “We are delighted that Iyanla Vanzant graciously invited Oprah to the ESSENCE Festival as a special gift for the fans, so we are welcoming our passionate community to join us for an absolutely extraordinary experience not to be missed.”

In addition, the worlds of film and TV will be well-represented at this year's event, with Warner Bros. presenting a live taping of “The Real,” the daytime talk show hosted by Loni Love, Tamera Mowry, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai; Fox will bring cast members from “Empire," “Rosewood,” and “Scream Queens;" The cast WGN’s “Underground" will also be at the festival; as well be the stars of Starz’s “Power” and “Survivor’s Remorse.”

As Lisa Gregorian, President and Chief Marketing Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group, told TheWrap, “Producing a live version of ‘The Real’ at the Essence Festival offers a new opportunity to enlighten, inspire and literally meet our fans that have supported us along the way... Adding a show like ‘Queen Sugar’ — which is filmed in New Orleans and is executive produced by Ava DuVernay, whose body of work strives to shine a light on stories untold — was, of course, a natural fit for us, and we’re happy to present it at one of the summer’s biggest festivals.”

The annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans is one of the nation’s largest live events. Each year, the Festival draws, on average, 500,000 attendees from across the globe to its multi-day entertainment, empowerment and cultural event, which generates an economic impact of more than $200 million to the local economy.

Now in its 22nd year, the ESSENCE Festival has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment and the nation’s most influential speakers, authors and leaders, including Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Prince, Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Steve Harvey, Ava DuVernay, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Magic Johnson, Iyanla Vanzant and many more.

Join the ESSENCE Festival community: Follow on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2016 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.

The 2016 ESSENCE Festival is executive produced by ESSENCE Festivals LLC, a division of ESSENCE Communications Inc., and produced by Solomon Group.

GeChar is the executive producer of the 2016 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience.


by Tambay Obenson on April 20 2017

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