Co-Hosted by Comedian and Co-Host of The Breakfast Club Jess Hilarious And Award-Winning On-Air Talent, Entertainment Journalist, and Podcaster Gia Peppers


NEW YORK, May 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Mary J. Blige, PEPSI®, Live Nation Urban and MVD Inc. announce the talent, official sponsors and exclusive experiences offered at the third annual Strength of a Woman Summit, being held Saturday, May 11th at The Glasshouse in New York City. This year’s event will be co-hosted by comedian and co-host of The Breakfast Club, Jess Hilarious and award-winning on-air talent, journalist and podcaster, Gia Peppers. The event is free for everyone who completes the registration form HERE.

The Strength of a Woman Summit is the ultimate destination that brings the festival’s mission and purpose of empowerment, elevation, education, and equity to life with inspiring programming, pivotal panels, keynote speakers, workshops and experiences, focused on wellness, culture, finance and entrepreneurship, style, beauty, podcasts and much more. Notable key speakers, for the free event, include Taraji P. Henson, Tasha Smith, Method Man, Marsai Martin, Larenz Tate, Angie Martinez, Pinky Cole Hayes, Crystal Renee Hayslett, Misa Hylton, Bevy Smith, Claire Sulmers, Michael Rainey Jr. and more. GRAMMY and Emmy award-winning and Oscar-nominated artist, actress, producer, entrepreneur and founder of Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, Mary J. Blige will also participate in one of the panel conversations. Blige’s intention for the Summit is not only to bring incredible talent to the stage, but to provide the New York community with resources that will help uplift, inspire, and equip attendees to achieve success in each of the focus areas.

The Strength Of A Woman Summit is free for attendees, due to the tremendous support of its official sponsors Mielle Organics, Verizon Business, Starz, and ASCAP.

PEPSI®, the festival’s returning partner, will be on-site to offer attendees delicious food, custom cocktails and mocktails and complimentary beverages at the Pepsi Dig In Village, capturing the diverse flavors of the major foodie city. Pepsi Dig In, the brand’s platform designed to drive access, business growth, and awareness for Black-owned restaurants, will spotlight and feature dishes from five female-owned restaurants: Slutty VeganMelba’s2 Girls & A CookshopAunts Et Uncles and Je T’aime Patisserie.The food will be available for purchase throughout the day to go towards supporting these businesses.

Guests can make every bite better with Pepsi and pair their flavorful meals with Pepsi-inspired craft cocktails and mocktails created by mixologist Camille Harris, as well as with refreshing beverages including Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Pepsi Wild Cherry, Pepsi Zero Sugar Wild Cherry, Starry, Starry Zero Sugar, bubly sparkling water, and LIFEWTR.

Additional Sponsored Activations and Experience Offerings Include:

The panels are only one star-studded component of the Summit. Activations include a tooth gem station where more daring visitors can Get Gem’d and add a little sparkle to their smiles, as well as a myriad of memorable photo moments to capture them. A lush build-your-own bouquet bar allows the romantics to hand pick their favorite blooms from an array of seasonal flowers and verdant accents to create distinct floral arrangements reflective of their unique style.

Guests can explore “Mary’s Living Room,” a welcoming sanctuary featuring the varietals of the Sun Goddess wine collection, Sister Love’s bold jewelry designs and the specially made Strength of a Woman merch. They’ll also immerse themselves in the music and memories of Mary J. Blige’sMy Life” in our custom listening booth, created as a special tribute to the 30th anniversary of the iconic album.

In addition to Pepsi’s Dig In Village, Mielle’s beauty carousel boasts hair demos and services with an onsite hairstylist and giveaways of their must-have products. Verizon Business is also inviting attendees to delve into the brand’s suite of small business offerings while also enjoying complimentary charging services of their mobile devices.

Created and curated by the iconic GRAMMY award-winning singer and songwriter, Mary J. Blige, Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit is the only festival experience in the market, brought to you exclusively by an all-Black, female team, and will arrive this spring to the birthplace of Hip-Hop, New York City. After selling out in less than 72 hours last year, the festival will bring, what is sure to be, iconic moments with three incredible nights of music and entertainment.

For additional details on the events at the 2024 Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, presented by Pepsi® – including tickets for Mary J. Blige’s headlining performance at Barclays with special guests, schedules, attendee registration, talent line-up and more, visit https://www.soawfestival.com and follow our Instagram, @soawfestival.

Summit Schedule:

*Doors will open at 9:30 AM.

Welcome from Jess Hilarious

Morning Motivation and Prayer Featuring Tasha Smith

From Crisis to Care: Navigating Mental Health in the Black Community

  • Time: 10:20-11:05 AM
  • Program Description: True wealth is mental wellness. We’re bringing together
    powerful Black voices to drop gems on managing life’s everyday challenges while keeping our minds on point. This isn’t just a panel — it’s a roadmap to inner strength, grace and resilience. Discover practical self-care strategies and unlock a healthier, happier you.
  • Moderator: Kristi Henderson, DE&I Executive & Planned Parenthood LA &
    California Affiliates Board Of Directors
  • Talent: Dr. Thema, Notable Black Psychologist; Shanti Das, CEO/Founder of
    Silence the Shame; Sharon Content, CEO/Founder Children of Promise NYC

Respect the Architect: Become the Architect of your Life

  • Time: 11:10-11:40 AM
  • Program Description: From styling music icons to shaping cultural trends, Misa
    Hylton has left an indelible mark on fashion and entertainment. Get ready to be inspired as the fashion icon and her specially curated guests share their secrets to success and resilience through undeniable creativity across the board. Don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embrace your unique vision, unlock your potential, and chart a course towards designing the life you’ve always wanted.
  • Moderator: Misa Hylton, Image Architect & Designer
  • Talent: LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, COO of MJB Productions; Simone I. Smith,
    Jewelry Designer; Madison Star Brim, Artist, Designer, Birthworker

Operation Secure The Bag: The Keys to Unlocking Financial Freedom

  • Time: 11:45-12:30 PM
  • Program Description: Level up and learn wealth-building strategies from
    corporate executives as a discussion about financial freedom takes center stage. The conversation is brought to you by Pepsi Dig In —the brand’s platform designed to drive access, business growth and awareness for Black-owned restaurants, by providing resources, mentorship, and training to restaurateurs to upskill their businesses. Join us for a conversation on entrepreneurship, financial planning, and how the Black community can crack the economic ceiling IRL. Don’t just dream of setting yourself free — gather the real keys to stacking generational coins. Your journey to prosperity starts here.
  • Moderator: Pinky Cole Hayes, Founder/CEO Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan
    Authority, Philanthropist
  • Talent: Rosezena “The BizLawyer” Pierce, CEO & Founding Trademark Attorney
    of R.J Pierce Law Group, P.C.; Nicole George-Middleton, SVP, Membership, ASCAP; Sherrese Clarke Soares, CEO/Founder Harbourview Equity Partners

Girl Talk with MJB

  • Time: 12:35-1:35 PM
  • Program Description: The girls are talkin’! Experience this unfiltered
    conversation that celebrates the magical bond of Black women’s friendships as MJB and her celebrity besties Angie Martinez, Taraji P. Henson and Tasha Smith talk about life, love, dating, and everything in between. Celebrate the strength and sisterhood of Black women as we toast to the joys and triumphs of everyday life with the women we love most!
  • Moderator: Angie Martinez, Radio Icon, Creator and Host of Angie Martinez
    IRL (In Real Life)
  • Talent: Mary J. Blige; Taraji P. Henson, Actress; Tasha Smith, Actress/Director

You CAN Sit With Us: Cultivating and Maintaining Sustainable Community

  • Time: 1:40-2:25 PM
  • Program Description: Explore the power of community and friendship as we
    discuss ways to foster healthier connections among Black women. From overcoming toxic environments or friend groups to embracing inclusivity, discover the keys to building meaningful relationships. Don’t let societal barriers break us — it’s time to redefine sisterhood and create a space where everyone belongs.
  • Moderator: Gia Peppers, Award-Winning On-Air Talent, Entertainment
    Journalist, and Podcaster
  • Talent: Heather Lowery, Founder Next Gem Femme; Marsai Martin, Actress;
    Crystal Renee Hayslett, Actress, Producer, Host; Shari Bryant, Co President of Roc Nation Label

Verizon Small Business Panel – The State of Small Business: How Female Leaders Can Be The Driving Force of Change

  • Time: 2:30-3:00 PM
  • Program Description: Small businesses are the fabric of communities across
    the country, often having a significant economic impact on a local and national scale. Women-owned businesses continue to increase – ranging in the millions if not tens of millions. So, how can female leaders drive true change within their organizations and in the broader business landscape?

    Join us for a lively conversation with Verizon Business leaders focused on the state of small business, the importance of prioritizing diverse voices, and how we as women are uniquely positioned to navigate the extraordinary challenges many businesses are facing today. Panelists will zero in on trends they’re seeing in the field and what is resonating most with small businesses, such as new technology and social constructs, taking a deep dive into how we can support both the individual business owner and the communities they operate in. And finally, the discussion will cover how organizations like Verizon are championing small businesses, from tailored solutions, to programs such as Small Business Digital Ready, which offers over 50 courses, peer networking, 1:1 expert coaching and incentives such as grant funding to small businesses across the country.

  • Moderator: Brave Williams, Entrepreneur, Multi-unit Developer & Owner, Be
    BRAVE Founder & CEO
  • Talent: Aparna Khurjekar, SVP & CRO, Business Markets & SaaS;
    Dawn McNellis, Senior Director, Business Sales; Sonal Patel, Vice President, Business Marketing

We Set The Trends: Developing Your Personal Style

  • Time: 3:05-3:35 PM
  • Program Description: Don’t know which looks match your vibe? Say less. Gain
    the skills you need to elevate your style game and discover how Black culture influences fashion from designer OGs and today’s rising influencers who are innovating the style & beauty industries. It’ll be an electrifying celebration of Black trends, creativity, and individuality.
  • Moderator: Bevy Smith, Author, TV and Radio Host
  • Talent: Claire Sulmers, CEO/Founder, Fashion Bomb Daily; Kim Kimble,
    Celebrity Hairstylist, Entrepreneur; Tahira Wright, Founder, The Cut Life

Black Women’s Health: Everything Your Mother Never Told You

  • Time: 3:40-4:20 PM
  • Program Description: Trust. This isn’t your mother’s typical health talk. In fact,
    it’s an eye-opening discussion that will delve into rarely discussed topics from fibroids to perimenopause to that feeling you get when “your nerves are bad.” We’re breaking the silence and equipping you with the tools not passed from generation to generation. Don’t miss a chance to learn new knowledge and reclaim more power.
  • Moderator: Tunde Oyeneyin, New York Times Best Selling Author, Peloton
    Instructor and Global Nike Athlete
  • Talent: Bea Dixon,CEO, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of the Honey
    Pot Company; Coach Gessie Thompson, Health Activist & Founder, The Detox Now; Dr. Stephanie Thompson, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) Physician

Our Men Honor the Strength of a Woman

  • Time: 4:25-5:10 PM
  • Program Description: Join us for a dynamic discussion led by a lineup of
    influential male voices who will share their love of Black women. Don’t miss your chance to hear firsthand from the men who recognize and appreciate the strength, beauty, and magic of Black women.
  • Moderator: Da’Vinchi, Actor
  • Talent: Method Man, Actor; Larenz Tate, Actor; Michael Rainey Jr., Actor; Mekai Curtis, Actor

Closing Remarks

The Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit is produced by MVD Inc., an internationally acclaimed creative production agency led by co-founders and sisters Miatta Johnson and Massah David.

For more information, please visit soawfestival.com.

For media interested in covering the Festival and Summit, you may access the media credential application here.

About MVD Inc.

MVD Inc is an internationally acclaimed award winning creative production agency led by co-founders and sisters Miatta Johnson and Massah David. The agency has redefined the perception of brand experiences, creating immersive spaces that push boundaries and captivate audiences.

Boasting an impressive portfolio of global brands in music, film, fashion, and technology, MVD Inc has been a creative force for brands like Netflix, Universal Music Group, ESSENCE, The Recording Academy, and many more. This duo impressively captures audiences with innovative creativity and strategic storytelling, making a lasting impact in the industry.

About Live Nation Entertainment

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company composed of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Media & Sponsorship. Live Nation Urban (LNU) is a partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s leading live entertainment company. Specifically focusing on Hip-Hop, R&B and Gospel, LNU builds platforms, events, and festivals globally and develops dynamic content strategies based upon the live properties created. Live Nation Urban considers itself the most powerful source for live urban music. For additional information, visit www.livenationurban.com. 

SOAW Press Contact:
Strategic Heights Media
Simone Smalls
Michelle Huff Elliott
Jesse Metres
(email protected)

Live Nation Urban Press Contact:
The Oriel Co.
Nina Lee
(email protected)
Carleen Donovan
(email protected)

SOURCE MVD/Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit