Essence Festival Expands Daytime Programming With Beauty and Money Expos

Time Inc. Title Adds Beauty & Style and Money & Power Components to Three-Day Event

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Singer Trey Songz greets fans at a Walmart-sponsored autograph signing during the 2015 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
Singer Trey Songz greets fans at a Walmart-sponsored autograph signing during the 2015 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Credit: Essence
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Time Inc.'s Essence is expanding its three-day Essence Festival this weekend with two new brand-friendly components for its daytime events, expos themed Money & Power and Beauty & Style.

"One of our objectives is to continue to program for the passion points of the audience," Essence President Michelle Ebanks said. "Beauty and style is a tremendous passion point for our audience. We've never had a beauty and style destination of this scale, and our partners Walmart, Carol's Daughter and Essence Beauty Box, among others, have partnered with us to create this destination."

In addition to sponsors' presence and product giveaways, the Beauty & Style Expo will feature demonstrations by industry experts, hair and fashion shows, mini-makeovers, as well as trend tips from Essence editors and style influencers such as beauty mogul Tyra Banks, celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble and E! News correspondent Zuri Hall.

The Money & Power Expo, which will focus on entrepreneurship and careers, has lined up sponsors including Prudential, Sam's Club, State Farm Bank, NASA and Walmart Pay. An Entrepreneurship Village will offer mentoring sessions for entrepreneurs at all stages of business development in partnership with the U.S. National Minority Business Development Association. Speakers including money coach Lynette Khalfani-Cox, Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Carla Harris and "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star and businessowner Cynthia Bailey will offer financial advice.

Maxwell, a performer at this year's Essence Festival, appears on the magazine's July issue.
Maxwell, a performer at this year's Essence Festival, appears on the magazine's July issue.  Credit: Warwick Saint for Essence

Presented by longtime partner Coca-Cola, the Essence Festival, now in its 22nd year, draws nearly 500,000 attendees per year and boosts Louisiana's economy to the tune of $200 million annually, according to the 46-year-old magazine brand. In recent years, the festival has seen attendance at its free daytime programming outpace its popular ticketed nighttime concert series, where this year Common, Kendrick Lamar and Mariah Carey will headline acts at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome.

The Beauty & Style and Money & Power expos join three other programs for visitors during the day: Entertainment All Access, with screenings and talks with the casts of movies and TV shows such as Fox's "Empire" and the Nat Turner film "Birth of a Nation"; Election 2016, with voter engagement efforts and a panel featuring Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Mich., and New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu; and Empowerment & Inspiration, with appearances from Rev. Al Sharpton, "Selma" director Ava Duvernay and American Ballet principal dancer Misty Copeland.

Other presenting sponsors at the festival include Ford, McDonald's and Verizon.

The 2015 Essence Festival in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
The 2015 Essence Festival in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Credit: Essence