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Essence, MSNBC Team For 2013 Fourth Of July Weekend Festival

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 20, 2013 11:06 AM
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Interesting... I wonder if the presence/emergence of black hosts/commentators on the network (Al Sharpton, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry, Joy Ann Reid)  is in part responsible for this partnership... 

Details via press release below:

The Nation's Most Influential African-American Women's Brand and The Country's Fastest Growing News Network Will Partner for Three Days of Live Programming at the Premier Forum for Black Women Featuring MSNBC Hosts and Contributors Rev. Al Sharpton, Tamron Hall, Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Matthews, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz and Joy Ann Reid

NEW YORK, May 20, 2013 -- ESSENCE, the number one media brand dedicated to African-American women, and MSNBC, the premier cable destination for in-depth analysis, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives, are teaming up at the 2013 ESSENCE Festival during Fourth of July weekend for unprecedented live coverage of headliners and newsmakers.  MSNBC will broadcast live from the ESSENCE Festival daily from Friday, July 5, to Sunday, July 7. In addition to covering the Festival, MSNBC will host a unique fan experience that will allow festival goers to join in efforts to strengthen and empower our communities. 

The announcement was made today by Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. and Phil Griffin, President, 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.

"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."

The ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage, the core of the annual Essence Festival, will feature icons, newsmakers, national leaders, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, celebrities, journalists, educators, and experts to showcase the many dimensions of the African-American community including a central focus on information to improve women's day-to-day lives.

The ESSENCE Festival is the ultimate entertainment, inspiration and cultural destination, hosting over 400,000 attendees annually. What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events," as designated by Advertising Age.  The ESSENCE Festival is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture.   

The ESSENCE Festival expanded to four days in 2012. This year's performers include Beyonce, Maxwell, Jill Scott, Brandy, LL Cool J, Trey Songz, New Edition, Janelle Monae and Jodi Watley to name a few.  The Festival will kick off with a Family Reunion Day on Thursday, July 4, and culminates on Sunday, July 7 with an all-star gospel tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin during the day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and Beyonce closing that evening at the Louisiana Superdome.  

For more information about the 2013 ESSENCE Festival, visit, join the Festival community: follow us onTwitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2013 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.

Sponsors of the 2013 ESSENCE Festival include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald's, My Black Is Beautiful, StateFarm, Verizon and Walmart as well as official sponsors Coors Light and Visa Prepaid.

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  • Blah Blah | May 21, 2013 6:59 AMReply

    So MSNBC is the new Thursday night?

  • Jess | May 20, 2013 3:53 PMReply

    Hopefully, it won't be some type of ghettoized, "Black in America"-style programming with the talking heads in attendance at the fest. However, if they are mostly interviewing Beyonce' and the other starlets, I don't see how that's going to fit with MSNBC's brand. #ratings

    A lot of residual hate for ESSENCE folks talking about their readership being in the toilet, legacy magazines have struggled in the face of online media (one reason why Newsweek is online-only now and even Bon Appetit met its demise). Personally, I renewed my sub when they brought Constance C.R. White on as editor and improved the content (got rid of Steve Harvey's columns and all the catering to the lowest common denominator). Now that Time Inc. fired her, it's going to be a wait-and-see situation.

  • CC | May 22, 2013 12:22 PM

    And Welp, you're still an eggplant.

  • Welp | May 22, 2013 11:29 AM

    Look at the insecure coon, always tryin to accuse folk of looking down on him. Such a chip on your shoulder against smart negroes w/discerning tastes. Get over it, you're trash. Your problem, not theirs.

  • CareyCarey | May 21, 2013 9:44 PM

    And baby, what you are speaks so loudly... you don't have to say another word. See you at the reunion. Opps... that's right, I forgot, you wouldn't be caught dead in the company of dem ghettoized talking head negros.

    Btw, from your perch upon the hill (since you've moved on up) what's your take on the lowest common denominator? But wait, before you answer, did you see Think Like A Man? Opps... of course not. There's no way in hell you'd sit around a bunch of black folks who enjoyed Steve Harvey's column or the movie based on his book. Them folks are the lowest, right?

    SMH @ Jessie who loves to throw shade on the black community.

  • jess | May 21, 2013 12:45 AM

    Baby, have SEVERAL air-conditioned Superdome seats and cool off. Trolls love to pick fights where none exist.

  • CC | May 20, 2013 7:51 PM

    Jess: Oh goodie, you have a dictionary... AND?

    Look, the word in question is not the problem. If you do not believe or understand why your comment had a "better than thee" ring, you're the problem.

    But I understand you push-back. You remind me of a person who'd sh*t in the middle of the street. When confronted, they'd hold up a sign saying "It's a natural body function, look it up". Well dear, this one is on you... and calling me a troll will not change who you are. What you are speaks so loudly...

  • jess | May 20, 2013 6:07 PM

    CareyCarey: Breaking with my long-standing policy of not feeding trolls--

  • CC | May 20, 2013 4:36 PM

    Excuse me, don't take this wrong but what you are speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say.

    Please explain "ghettoized" programming? And, "lowest common denominator"?

    Listen, it's safe to say MSNBC's coverage of the festival will do exactly that, cover the festival. Have you attended the event? I have, so maybe you should talk about something you know. Then again, maybe, it's possible, based on you choice of words, that you believe a spirited and joyous gathering of black folks equates to a ghettoized affair? So it's safe to say you will not in attendance at the reunion - huh?

  • CareyCarey | May 20, 2013 1:01 PMReply

    Shame on you Tambay. Should I finger you for street corner game of Three Card Monte or the old bait and switch by any name.

    The bait: TYLER & OPRAH

    The switch: This post has absolutely nothing to do with either of them. But I have to admit, y'all had me for a second, especially when your partner in crime showed up. On cue, the messy gossip hound came a sniffin'... "They can't find ANYONE ELSE for the cover?"

    See, I read the post, so I'm thinkin' "What cover is Sergio talking about?"

    BINGO! I could have had a V8. Yet, I was sucked into the vortex winds surrounding the hurricanes Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

    This article is about the Essence Festival and three days of live coverage by MSNBC. So I'm thinking, is Oprah appearing on stage with Beyounce? Is Tyler scheduled to sing with Donnie McClurkin, LL Cool J or Maxwell? NOPE-NOPE-NOPE. So stop it Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo :-)

  • ALM | May 20, 2013 12:23 PMReply

    Nadia already said it. I haven't seen the official numbers, but I believe that readership of "Essence" is in the toilet. The music festival is probably the only thing keeping the magazine afloat.

    I wonder if TVOne will still do their two hour Essence Music Festival recap since MSNBC will have more comprehensive coverage of the event?

  • Donella | May 21, 2013 10:22 AM

    Or a cover with Robin Roberts, Deborah Roberts, and Tamron Hall.

  • sergio | May 20, 2013 1:06 PM

    Exactly how about Tamron Hall or Jo-Ann Reid on the cover instead of TP who's been on the cover of Essence like 4,578 times already and doesn't Oprah have her own magazine where she's on the cover like every month?

  • BluTopaz | May 20, 2013 12:46 PM

    ITA. Like most of media, Essence is much too celebrity driven. I remember their 1990's cover featuring the young woman who caught AIDS; just a regular person without a publicist and it resonated with a lot of people. I can't imagine any mainstream mag featuring a non-celebrity nowadays.

    Re: this issue, it would be have interesting if they had the Black MSNBC hosts on the cover noted here. Who cares about Oprah and Tyler being bffs, I'm sure there are a lot of Black people who either watch MSNBC or would be curious of what the cover story with these news media personalities. This cover is just more dumbing down.

  • Grey | May 20, 2013 11:57 AMReply

    Essence used these two because they are about to have a huge year. Though peeples was a flop thanks to the writer and director Tina, Temptation made 53 million making it another hit for TP. His Madea Xmas movie will be a hit and his two new sitcoms on Own are tracking very high for ratings. As for Oprah, she already getting Oscar Buzz for The Butler and OWN is off to good start with ratings this year and will get better in one week. Smart move for Essence.

  • Carl | May 20, 2013 12:55 PM


    You are so full of shit your eyes are brown. Cheerleading from the side doesn't make it FACT. Temptation was a HIT? You need to stop HITTING that crack pipe.

  • Nadia | May 20, 2013 12:15 PM

    Can you provide links that say Tyler Perry's new sitcoms on OWN are "tracking very high for ratings"? And also provide links for the "Oscar buzz" you say Oprah is getting for "The Butler."

  • sergio | May 20, 2013 11:08 AMReply

    They can't find ANYONE ELSE for the cover?

  • sergio | May 20, 2013 1:03 PM

    @ Curtis So which one is the queen?

    Hey, don't blame me. You set it for anyone to say it so it's YOUR fault

  • Nadia | May 20, 2013 12:12 PM

    "A massive surge in ratings..." that will probably drop sharply after those 2 new series first debut.

    But really, who cares who Essence puts on their cover. Nobody reads that magazine anymore. Remember the fall-out after the black editor they had left because she was clashing with the white owners? Black women revolted. Many of us stopped reading Essence a long time ago.

  • Curtis | May 20, 2013 11:46 AM

    They could but in two weeks Own is about to see a massive surge in ratings thanks to these two so what better two faces to use other than king and queen.

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