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Oprah Winfrey to attend Essence Festival in New Orleans

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Walter McBride/WireImage

Oprah Winfrey will make her first appearance at Time Inc.’s annual Essence Festival on July 2 in New Orleans, it was announced Thursday. Organized by Essence Magazine, the festival is the nation’s largest gathering and celebration of African-American women. 

“Oprah’s message of inspiration is universal and, through her life’s work, she has influenced women and girls across the globe,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca. “We are delighted that Iyanla Vanzant graciously invited Oprah to the Essence Festival as a special gift for the fans, so we are welcoming our passionate community to join us for an absolutely extraordinary experience not to be missed.”

Essence Festival, sponsored by Coca-Cola, draws about 500,000 attendees from around the world every summer, and this year is shaping up to be one of its biggest yet. Winfrey, who will appear at the festival for the first time in its 21-year history, joins featured speakers Iyanla Vanzant, Ava DuVernay, Misty Copeland, Tyra Banks, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Rev. Al Sharpton. The festival will also include performances from Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell, Puff Daddy, The Family, and more. 

Tickets are still on sale for the weekend long event, kicking off Friday, July 1 in New Orleans. Winfrey is set to appear at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.