Opening day of the Essence Music Festival is kicking off with events geared for the young.
Crime, education and issues affecting today's youth will be tackled during the day at the Morial Convention Center before teen musical acts hit the stage at the Superdome.
Among the day's speakers are New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who launched a mentoring project called "Saving Our Sons," to help curb crime and violence in the city. His wife, Cheryl, launched "Girl Up NOLA," which seeks to inspire and motivate young girls.
The Disney Channel's Coco Jones, rapper Diggy, the OMG Girlz and New Orleans' own The Roots of Music perform Thursday night. It's the first of four nights of music by Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Ledisi, D'Angelo, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Estelle and others.