The empowerment seminar portion of the Essence Music Festival offers more than the usual array of political, social and religious leaders. Attendees can get free goodies, free health screenings and autographs from David and Tamela Mann, stars of Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns," at a mini-festival at the convention center.
"Shades of Our Community," is a touring mini-festival making a stop at the Essence Music Festival. It features music, kids' activities and celebrity appearances, with visits from film stars David and Tamela Mann, CNN correspondents Roland S. Martin and Soledad O'Brien, and Joint Task Force Katrina commander Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. Medical professionals will also be on site to give free blood pressure and glucose screenings. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Shades is sponsored Turner Network Sales, the owner of TBS, in conjunction with CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network and cable provider Cox Communications. The touring event will make stops in 10 cities, and is designed both to provide free services to attendees and promote the four networks upcoming programming, including TNT's nurse show "HawthoRNe and CNN's "Black in America 2," the sequel to the networks 2008 documentary "Black in America."
"It's promotional for the shows, but it's also to give back," spokeswoman Mary Anderson-Harris says.
During the event, Cox Communications will donate $1000 to Cox Charities of New Orleans, the company's charity that donates to non-profit organizations with education and development programs. Jessica Williams