Yes, the Essence Festival is host to a nightly series of concerts featuring the hottest stars in soul and hip-hop — but during the day, the annual New Orleans event also brings together newsmakers and influencers to greet fans and discuss issues of interest to the African-American community. With the 24th festival now in the books, here's a look at the noteworthy figures who stopped by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center over the weekend. Pictured: At far left, TV personality Angela Rye, who moderated a panel about passion and purpose featuring Mary J. Blige, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, Alencia Johnson of Planned Parenthood, Queen Latifah, and Remy Ma.Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence STACEY ABRAMS Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence SYMONE SANDERS AND MAXINE WATERS
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