Copeland, Banks*Tyra Banks, ballerina Misty Copeland, and life coach Iyanla Vanzant will be among the influencers set to speak on the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage, taking place Fourth of July Weekend, July 1–3, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

Free and open to the public, the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage will feature conversations and keynote addresses with not only those mentioned above, but also Cookie Johnson, Terry McMillan, Phaedra Parks and Rev. Al Sharpton, plus performances from Tony-award winner Patina Miller, Travis Greene, Tasha Paige Lockhart, Kierra Sheard and Yolanda Adams, who will lead an All-Star Gospel Tribute to the Clark Sisters sponsored by Walmart. Additional speakers and talent to be announced soon.

“The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage remains the heartbeat of Festival weekend with its diverse and impactful programming aimed at enlightening and inspiring our community,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “The current social climate has brought to light highly important issues, and we plan to continue these conversations at this year’s ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. Not only will our programming emphasize topics such as love and relationships, personal finance and entrepreneurship, but we will also take a deeper look into our community’s most pressing political concerns to prepare ourselves for the upcoming presidential election.”

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In addition to conversations on the 2016 election, the Empowerment Experience Stage provides a national strategy session for the day-to-day lives of ESSENCE’s community of 14 million women. Talent will address a wide range of topics, including: Creating Your Dream Business, Leading with Purpose, Protecting Our Daughters & Sons, and Building Your Own Brand.

Last year’s successful “Hour of Power” will return to the ESSENCE Empowerment Stage on Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2, when emerging and established talent will perform roof-raising inspirational music.