The Association of Magazine Media


Director/Producer Ava DuVernay and #BlackLivesMatter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors

to Also Receive “Woke Awards” at Annual Festival in New Orleans

New York, NY (April 17, 2017)—Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) Essence unveils its first-ever "Woke 100" list in the May 2017 issue. The list honors the top 100 women activists and social influencers from around the country—introducing a sisterhood at the forefront of activism across the political, social and creative spectrum. The Woke 100 will also come to life during this year's Essence Festival® presented by Coca-Cola®, which will officially be themed “Woke Wonderland.”

The issue features one cover spotlighting 12 of the women using their various platforms to battle injustice and infractions to civil rights, dignity and basic humanity: writer/producer Shonda Rhimes; veteran journalist Joy-Ann Reid; Women’s March co-chairs Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez; Women’s March organizer Janaye Ingram; political commentator Angela Rye; Circle of Mothers founder Sybrina Fulton; author/blogger Luvvie Ajayi; social activist April Reign; #BlackLivesMatter cofounder Opal Tometi; and educator/activist Brittany Packnett.

For the full cover story:

For the full Woke 100 list:

The Essence Festival, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana, will serve as the culmination of the brand’s celebration of change agents who are vigilant in creating and inspiring equality and a more inclusive and tolerant nation. Free and open to the public, the Festival’s Empowerment Experience Stage—held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center—will host conversations and keynote addresses that put the invaluable voice of Black women at the forefront and will feature influencers from the Woke 100 list, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Luvvie Ajayi, April Reign, Tamika Mallory and more.

“We are beyond proud to announce our first ever Woke 100 list and to summon a circle of women who are shaping the narrative of today’s social and political climate,” said Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa De Luca. “As we kick off the conversation of modern activism in our May issue, the 2017 Essence Festival’s ‘Woke Wonderland’ theme will act as the intersection of passion and purpose—bridging the gap between this generation’s most prominent voices in leadership and those who’ve laid the groundwork before them.”

In addition to the Empowerment Stage’s previously announced keynote speakers and program topics, Ava DuVernay and Patrisse Cullors will receive official Woke Awards for their commitment to advancing representation and raising community issues in their fields. Following the awards ceremony, asha bandele will moderate a panel discussion with DuVernay and Cullors.

The May issue of Essence goes on sale on Friday, April 21.

Join the conversation online using #Woke100 and by following Essence on Twitter @essence and by becoming a fan of Essence on Facebook.

The Essence Festival®is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc., and is produced by Solomon Group. The Essence® Empowerment Experience is executive produced by GeChar.

Sponsors of the 2017 ESSENCE Festival® in New Orleans include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald’s, State Farm and Walmart.


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Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is a leading content company that engages over 150 million consumers every month through our portfolio of premium brands across platforms. Our influential brands include People, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as approximately 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.


Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a brand reach of 21.2 million. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online, ECI comprises Essence magazine, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; the Essence Festival; Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music events; Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series;; and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD).


Sheila Harris, Time Inc.                                  Bradford Bridgers, Time Inc.

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Monday, April 17, 2017