Essence Music Festival kicks off today in New Orleans

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 12:34pm

Today is the opening day of the annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Although the weekend will be filled with live music performances, today’s focus is on issues affecting youth in our area.

As crews perform stage checks at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is preparing an important initiative called Saving Our Sons. The program is designed to curb crime and violence in the Crescent City.

Landrieu’s wife, Cheryl, launched a similar initiative focusing on young girls. It’s called Girl Up NOLA.

Landrieu will be one of many speakers who plan to discuss crime and education issues.

There will be musical performances tonight, however. They include top performers from the Disney Channel. Set to perform tonight are Coco Jones, rapper Diggy, the OMG Girlz and New Orleans' own The Roots of Music.

Essence will continue through Sunday and will feature such performers as Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Ledisi, D'Angelo, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Estelle and others.

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