Essence Festival: Niecy Nash, Regina King, Lena Waithe Added to Entertainment All Access Lineup
Other confirmed talent includes Neyo, Regina Hall, 'Insecure's' Yvonne Orji, Amandla Stenberg, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, 'Power's' Naturi Naughton and Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins.
Several studios and networks are returning to New Orleans for the Essence Festival, taking place after the Fourth of July.
Drawing in more than 470,000 attendees last year participating in various culture, community and music entertainment experiences, TV networks and studios see the festival as an opportunity to market their newest and returning offerings. The fest this year comes as organizers are looking to the event's 25-year anniversary next year and Essence magazine as a whole celebrating being once again black-owned.
Talent from Disney, Showtime, HBO, TNT, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, Starz, BET and Annapurna are expected to descend on New Orleans for panels, screenings, meet-and-greets/autograph signings, interactive photo booth activations, speaking engagements and more, billed as the Entertainment All Access.
Confirmed talent for the newly expanded Entertainment All-Access experience includes NE-YO, actress-writer-producer and The Chi creator Lena Waithe, Regina Hall, Insecure's Yvonne Orji, Niecy Nash, Amandla Stenberg, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Power's Naturi Naughton, Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, Regina King and more. The daytime experience is free and open to the public.
"We are beyond thrilled to create the ultimate fan experience with Entertainment All Access at this year's Essence Festival," said Cassandre Charles, vp brand marketing at Essence. "We are collaborating with our studio partners to continually nurture and grow our Entertainment All Access program; curating fresh activations around film, television and celebrity engagement. From presentations and meet-and-greets with rising Hollywood powerhouses like Lena Waithe, Barry Jenkins and more to exclusive screenings and cast talk-backs, Entertainment All Access at the 2018 Essence Festival is a platform for progressive conversations, learning experiences and next-level Hollywood fandom."
The Essence Festival is presented by Coca-Cola. Other major sponsors include AT&T, Ford, McDonald's, Wal-Mart and State Farm. A key partner of the city of New Orleans, the festival helps boosts the local economy by more than $100 million annually.
The long-standing annual festival is set to run July 5-8, with daytime activities taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and nighttime concerts and events taking place at the Mercedes Superdome.