The Coca-Cola Polar Bear (center) is joined by (left to right) ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Coca-Cola Company Senior Vice-President, and Chair, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Ingrid Saunders Jones; and ESSENCE Editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray during the kick-off press conference for the 16th annual 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival. This year’s annual three-day event—held over the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans—also celebrated ESSENCE magazine’s 40th anniversary. The ESSENCE Music Festival is the largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture and featured headliner performances by Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige at the Louisiana Superdome. Attendees were also inspired during the ESSENCE Empowerment Seminars held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center which featured Jada Pinkett Smith, Bill Cosby, Steve Harvey, Bishop T.D. Jakes and many more. The presenting sponsor for the 2010 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Other 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, U.S. Army; Wal-Mart; AARP, CNN, HBO, My Black is Beautiful, TBS, TVOne and Visa.