Essence and MSNBC unite for live coverage of the 2013 Essence Festival

The Essence Festival

The Essence Festival will take place over the fourth of July weekend this year. (Image: Essence Communications)

Essence and MSNBC are uniting for live coverage of the 2013 Essence Festival, Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc., and Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, announced Monday.

Taking place from Thursday July 4, through Sunday, July 7, this much-anticipated annual event will heat up New Orleans even further during this long summer weekend, attracting music stars from around the world, including superstar headliner Beyoncé.

Cable news channel MSNBC will be on hand with its stellar roster of on-air talent, who will broadcast live from the Essence Empowerment Experience, a central hub of the festival. MSNBC hosts and contributors including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Matthews, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes,  Ed Schultz and Joy-Ann Reid will be there to connect with viewers and festival goers to bring a heightened sense of community to both audiences.

Helping to empower audiences

This coverage, which will kick off on Friday, July 5 and run through the end of the festival, will share a venue with the Essence Empowerment Experience Stage, where festival participants and MSNBC viewers alike will be treated to intimate interactions with “icons, newsmakers, national leaders, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, journalists, educators, and experts,” according to a release from Essence Communications and MSNBC.

“MSNBC’s live programming during the Essence Empowerment Experience, from the heart of the Essence Festival, underscores their commitment to broaden the national reach and impact of conversations with thought-leaders, politicians, authors, celebrities and artists who will address the critical issues facing our communities — especially those of people of color and women,” said Ebanks of the partnership.

History of the Essence Festival

The Essence Festival is America’s largest annual African-American music and culture event. Over the four days of the entertainment and empowerment gathering, in addition to Beyoncé, “Maxwell, Jill Scott, Brandy, LL Cool J, Trey Songz, New Edition, Janelle Monáe,” and many more will also perform, the release further states.

The Essence Festival began as a single event commemorating the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine in 1995. It has since grown into one of the country’s Top 10 Leading Brand events according to Advertising Age, garnering a crowd of over 400,000 each year.

Strengthening a commitment to community

Through collaborating on live coverage of the 2013 Essence Festival, Essence Communications and MSNBC hope to strengthen the mutual commitment of both entities to helping their audiences use information to improve their lives.

“MSNBC is committed to community and conversation — everything the Essence Festival represents,” said Griffin. “We’re proud to partner with Essence to highlight the ideas and issues of value to our audiences.”

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Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.