Essence Festival Durban Announces Celebrity Line-Up

September 7, 2016

Essence’s annual festival is one of many highly anticipated gatherings, with fans spanning coast to coast from unique backgrounds, cultures, and communities. Riding the wave of its increasing popularity, the multi-media entity announced in October 2015 its plans to take the festival global, with a stop planted strategically in the South African city of Durban.

Slated to run from November 8 – 13, 2016 at the International Convention Center and the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the inaugural event has updated its itinerary to dish the first line-up of celebrity appearances. Read on for the scoop.

Essence Festival Durban 2016

“This is a milestone year for the Essence brand as we get ready to bring one of our most beloved events to the heart of South Africa in the coastal city of Durban, which represents an exciting mix of cultures,” said Essence President Michelle Ebanks.

“This inaugural Essence Festival Durban will bring together voices of influence and power from the continent of Africa, the United States and around the globe to connect communities and empower women spanning the diaspora.”

And by voices of influence and power, Essence means renowned television host, actor, author, radio personality and entrepreneur Steve Harvey; distinguished civil rights activist and community leader Reverend Al Sharpton; fitness expert and motivational speaker Shaun T.; Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of Atlanta personality and entertainment lawyer Phaedra Parks; and celebrated singer/songwriters Estelle and Kelly Price. These influential individuals will head the festival’s daytime Empowerment Experience.

Essence Festival

In addition to this power line-up, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Yolanda Adams will be honored during the event’s All-Star Gospel Tribute and will also grace the audience with a closing weekend performance.

While the bar is already high, Essence plans to announce further confirmed speakers and performers as time draws nearer.

Although the American celebrities carry Hollywood appeal, it’s the local entertainers that will take the Essence Festival Durban experience to the next level.

From inclusion of famed South African producer DJ Black Coffee to South African actress, dancer, and singer Nondumiso Tembe, Essence prioritized diversifying the inaugural fête with an eclectic mix of global and local talent. Additionally, Wololo hitmaker Babes Wodumo; Durban-based kwaito group Big Nuz; Fuse Academy co-founder DJ Zinhle; Afro-jazz musician Thandiswa Mazwai; and many more are scheduled for appearances throughout the event.

Free and open to the public, the Essence Festival Durham will offer specialized enrichment programming throughout, including:

  • Money + Power Showcase: Providing unique opportunities for businesses to network and to meet potential buyers from both local and international markets.
  • Beauty and Style Expo: Featuring designers from across the African continent showcasing and selling their products.
  • Lifestyle & Wellness Experience: Featuring fitness workouts from celebrity fitness experts and healthy living tips.
  • Essence Eats: Showcasing celebrity chefs preparing their specialty dishes and cuisine from Durban Sister Cities.

For more information on Essence Festival Durham, visit Be sure to never miss an update! Sign up for our mailing list today to receive updated information as soon as we get it from Essence. We promise never to spam you.

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