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Pop / Rock 06/07/2007

The 2007 Essence Music Festival Presented by Coca-Cola Brings Together the Country's Largest Annual Gathering of African-Americans to Celebrate Black Music and Culture

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NEW YORK, NY. (Top40 Charts/ Essence Communications) - The 13th Annual 2007 Essence Music Festival Presented by Coca-Cola celebrates its homecoming to New Orleans July 5, 6 and 7 with the biggest names in entertainment and the nation's most dynamic speakers, authors and leaders.

Mainstage performances for the 2007 Essence Music Festival presented by Coca-Cola include: Beyonce; Mary J. Blige; Chris Brown; Ciara; Steve Harvey; Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley; Ludacris; Maze featuring Frankie Beverly; Ne-Yo; The O'Jays with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill; Lionel Richie; Kelly Rowland; Robin Thicke; Smokie Norful and Vanessa Bell-Armstrong. Senator Barack Obama will appear on the main stage on Thursday, July 5. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will participate in the ESSENCE CARES Empowerment Seminars on Friday, July 6.

Running concurrently with the main-stage performances in the Superlounges: Anthony David; Angie Stone; Chuck D and Public Enemy; Common; Elizabeth Withers; Jermaine Paul; Kenny Lattimore and Chante Moore; Kindred; Lyfe Jennings; MC Lyte; Mint Condition; Najee; Nuttin but Stringz; Pieces of a Dream; Rachelle Ferrell; Rahsaan Patterson; Rebirth Brass Band; Roy Anthony & Legit with Cupid; Ruben Studdard; Slum Village; and Sunshine Anderson.

"From the amazing talent roster we have planned for the concerts at the Louisiana Superdome to the phenomenal line-up of renowned speakers at the Empowerment Seminars, this special homecoming celebration is gearing up to be the greatest Essence Music Festival ever," says Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc. "Festival-goers will not only be entertained and enlightened, but will be making a difference in the New Orleans community as a portion of all concert ticket proceeds will benefit the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools of New Orleans."

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the official daytime destination for inspiration and motivation at the ESSENCE CARES! Empowerment Seminar Series. Hosted by ESSENCE's Susan L. Taylor, speakers, authors, and national leaders will convene to share dialogue around the theme, "Claiming our City ... Claiming Ourselves."

In addition to the free and open-to-the-public Essence Empowerment Seminars, the Festival's daytime offerings also include the Essence Marketplace, a showcase of quality fine arts & crafts by African-American vendors from all over the world.

The Marketplace will also include interactive sponsor presentations, celebrity meet-and-greets, Festival souvenirs and a book fair with author book signings. Additionally, the 2007 Essence Music Festival Presented by Coca-Cola sponsored a day-long Youth Outreach Program, which hosts local children for games, musical performances and motivational presentations on a variety of topics.

Tickets for the evening concerts are on sale immediately at at (800) 488-5252. A portion of the proceeds will support the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools in New Orleans. For updates on performers, hotel accommodations, ticket prices and weekly promotions log on to

Sponsors of the 2007 Essence Music Festival include presenting sponsor, Coca-Cola; major sponsors Budweiser, McDonald's, Chevrolet, Sony, U.S. Army, Verizon and Wal-Mart; and official sponsors HBO, L'Oreal Paris, Southwest Airlines, TBS, Vaseline, VH1 Soul. Coca-Cola, Budweiser and McDonald's will each host a Superlounge during the Essence Music Festival.

The 2007 Essence Music Festival is produced by Essence Festivals in association with Festival Productions Inc. - New Orleans and AEG Live. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). ECI is also the publisher of ESSENCE magazine. ESSENCE, after 37 years, continues to be the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women.

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