Comedian, talk show host and perennial Essence Festival favorite Steve Harvey has joined the roster of the 2015 daytime Empowerment Experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He’ll host an edition of his “Dating Show,” in which he matches a civilian single to an eligible celebrity.
The festival also announced several other new names. The rapper Wale will perform in the Now Playing Superlounge inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. And vocalists Jonathan McReynolds and Lalah Hathaway will perform in the For the Love of R&B Superlounge sponsored by Walmart.
The 2015 Essence Festival kicks off on Thursday, July 2, with comedian Kevin Hart at the Superdome. The full festival opens in the Dome on July 3 with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Charlie Wilson, Kem and India.Arie. The July 3 superlounge roster includes Adrian Marcel, Avery*Sunshine, Doug E. Fresh, Goapele, Kelly Price, Kindred The Family Soul, Luenell, Nico & Vinz, and Slick Rick.
On Saturday, July 4, Usher will close the show, preceded by Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu, Common and newly added Beenie Man & The Zagga Zow Band. In the superlounges that night, you can hear Mystikal, The Bangas, Bilal, Elle Varner, Esperanza Spalding Presents: Emily’s D+Evolution, Kool Moe Dee, Mali Music and Raheem DeVaughn.
The final night of the 2015 Essence, Sunday, July 5, will include rapper Kendrick Lamar — recently featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine — Mary J. Blige, Floetry and New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue on the main stage. The superlounges present Andra Day, Dee-1, Dumpstaphunk, Eric Roberson, Jeff Bradshaw, Lianne La Havas, Mase, Robert Glasper, SZA, Teedra Moses, and Tweet.
Comedian Nephew Tommy from “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” will once again emcee the action on the main stage, joined by deejay Doug E. Fresh.
In addition to Harvey, other Empowerment Experience participants include Deepak Chopra, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sybrina Fulton, Iyanla Vanzant, Grace Gibson and Lynn Whitfield, Cynthia Bailey, Kandi Burruss and Claudia Jordan.