Essence Hosts 2020 Presidential Candidates

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rouke, and Elizabeth Warren to Speak at the 25th Annual Essence Festival in New Orleans

ESSENCE Communications, Inc. announced that the 2019 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola will host exclusive keynote conversations with five of the leading Democratic contenders in the 2020 Presidential race, including Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kamala Harris, Former Representative Beto O’Rourke and Senator Elizabeth Warren. These live ‘Presidential Spotlight’ segments will take place on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, 2019 on the ESSENCE Power Stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. Following the candidates’ remarks, a question-and answer session with each will be led by Rev. Al Sharpton, CEO of ESSENCE Michelle Ebanks and founder and chair of Essence Ventures Richelieu Dennis and will be aired on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton.

Attracting an audience of 500,000-plus attendees over July 4th weekend and a total economic impact of roughly $4 billion over 25 years, the ESSENCE Festival has created a “home” for Black communities as the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience. Beyond its ongoing coverage of key civic participation and political news, ESSENCE utilizes its Festival platform to go even deeper in its delivery of engagement and content that informs, enlightens and provides an open forum to discuss the issues of most importance to Black women, who represent a critical voting bloc wielding increased electoral influence.

“As we look towards the 2020 Presidential election, the importance of Black women and their decisive role in the pathway to victory is undeniable,” said Michelle Ebanks, Chief Executive Officer of ESSENCE Communications. “We are thrilled to offer an opportunity at our 25th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival for our community to hear directly from some of the top candidates in the 2020 Presidential field as they discuss issues that matter most to our community – and how their individual visions and policies align with those issues. As the largest annual gathering of Black women in the country, the ESSENCE Festival is a powerful platform to engage this critically influential and diverse segment of voters, who have had historically high turnout in recent years. It is more clear today than ever that engaging with Black women in a meaningful way isn’t optional. It is necessary.”

Each candidate will appear individually to outline his or her platform, addressing a live audience from the Power Stage at the ESSENCE Festival’s daytime experience. Candidates will then field questions generated directly from the ESSENCE community, which includes more than 24 million Black women. The ‘Presidential Spotlight’ segments will take place throughout the day, with each candidate appearing for 20 minutes.

Attendance is free and open to the public at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. For more information, download the ESSENCE Festival app or visit essence.com/festival.

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