Essence Fest's Empowerment Scene To Feature Deepak Chopra

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The 2015 Essence Festival's lineup for its free daily empowerment sessions inside New Orleans' convention center will feature a first-timer: celebrated author Deepak Chopra.

         Festival organizers said Thursday that Chopra will join nationally recognized activists, artists and entertainers who will share tips for personal success including the Rev. Al Sharpton; Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; author and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant; actress Lynn Whitfield and her daughter, Grace Gibson; and cast members from The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

         "We're delighted that best-selling author Deepak Chopra will join us in providing solutions for our audience's day-to-day lives," Essence President Michelle Ebanks said in a statement. "The Empowerment Experience Stage, which is free and open to the public, was designed to connect inspiring leaders such as Deepak together with our passionate community of women. We know that attendees are going to have an unforgettable and transformative time with Deepak and all of our speakers and entertainers … this year."

         Chopra has written more than 80 books translated in more than 43 languages. His popularity grew after appearing on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.

         The festival, which includes nightly concerts in the Superdome, will be held July 3-5. The daytime experience culminates with an all-star gospel tribute to singer Kim Burrell.

         The nighttime festivities kick off with the "Now Playing" concert on Thursday, July 2, featuring comedian Kevin Hart, R&B singer Trey Songz, and Christian rapper Lecrae. Only the main stage in the Superdome is used during the "Now Playing" show.

         Acts booked for the three main nights of the Essence Festival in the Superdome include Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, India.Arie, Erykah Badu, Common, Trombone Shorty and Mystikal.

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