Featuring Steve Harvey, Rev. Al Sharpton, Yolanda Adams, Shaun T., Black Coffee and Many More

NEW YORK, NY(September 1, 2016) – Organizers of Time Inc.’s (NYSE: TIME) Essence Festival Durban today announced the first-round lineup of participants for the inaugural event, taking place November 8–13, 2016, at the International Convention Center and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa. 

Renowned television host, actor, author, radio personality and entrepreneur Steve Harvey is partnering with the first-ever Essence Festival Durban to bring more attention and definition to trade and business opportunities between the United States and Africa.  Distinguished civil rights activist, community leader and television/radio host Rev. Al Sharpton; fitness expert and motivational speaker Shaun T.; television personality and entertainment attorney Phaedra Parks; and accomplished singer/songwriters Estelle and Kelly Price are among the confirmed speakers for the festival’s daytime Empowerment Experience. In addition, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Yolanda Adams will be honored during the event’s All-Star Gospel Tribute and will give a special closing weekend performance. Additional appearances are to be announced soon.


“This is a milestone year for the Essence brand as we get ready to bring one of our most beloved events to the heart of South Africa in the coastal city of Durban, which represents an exciting mix of cultures,” said Essence President Michelle Ebanks. “This inaugural Essence Festival Durban will bring together voices of influence and power from the continent of Africa, the United States and around the globe to connect communities and empower women spanning the diaspora.”

As the sister event to the annual Essence Festival New Orleans, the Essence Festival Durban will feature not only global performers and speakers to entertain and inspire but also a host of local experts and performing artists, including famed South African record producer/DJ Black Coffee; South African actress, dancer and singer Nondumiso Tembe; Wololo hitmaker Babes Wodumo; Durban-based kwaito group Big Nuz; Fuse Academy co-founder DJ Zinhle; Afro-jazz musician Thandiswa Mazwai; and many more to be announced soon.

Her Worship The Mayor of Durban, Cllr, Zandile Gumede said, “We are excited as the City of Durban to be hosting an event of this magnitude. The festival will provide an invaluable platform for businesses and artists to network and build relationships with international experts for locals to be globally competitive.  Durban is well positioned as an events destination for global niche tourism and we seek to take advantage of this positioning to create a platform for growth, socio- economic development, and empowerment of our emerging businesses. Through this partnership with Essence, we want to showcase our cultural diversity, arts and heritage as well as business acumen to South Africa and the rest of the world. Our vision is that Durban should be ‘Africa’s most caring and liveable city by 2030’, and Essence Festival Durban will help towards creating a diverse cultural economy.”

Free and open to the public, the Empowerment Experience at the Essence Festival Durban will also offer a range of enrichment programming, including:

·       Money + Power Showcase, providing unique opportunities for businesses to network and to meet potential buyers from both local and international markets.

·       Beauty and Style Expo, featuring designers from across the African continent showcasing and selling their products.

·       Lifestyle & Wellness Experience, featuring fitness workouts from celebrity fitness experts and healthy living tips.

·       Essence Eats, showcasing celebrity chefs preparing their specialty dishes and cuisine from Durban Sister Cities.

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