Founded in 1995, the Essence Music Festival is the nation's largest African-American live musical and cultural experience attracting more than 100,000 people from around the world. The festival features four days of music performances, inspiring empowerment panels and block parties. Panels included such guests as radio personality Steve Harvey, CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Vanessa Williams and others. This year's performers included D'Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Anthony Hamilton, among others.