- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More than 450,000 people showed up for this year’s Essence Festival, held over the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans.

The annual four-day cultural celebration featured more than 100 performers and more than 100 speakers, including first-time appearances by Oprah Winfrey, singer Mariah Carey, producer/rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs, model Tyra Banks and Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.

Crowds packed the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for the daytime experience at the festival, presented by Coca-Cola. Two new consumer expos launched, “Beauty & Style” and “Entrepreneurship, Money & Power.”

Festival organizers also gave attendees a preview of Essence Festival Durban, the first international edition of the festival scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 8-13.

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