(NEW ORLEANS) — A little more than a week after the first 2020 presidential debates, several candidates head to New Orleans to make a direct appeal to black women voters.At the 25th anniversary Essence Fest, five Democratic contenders for the White House are vying for the support of that critical voting bloc. The festival is the creation of Essence Magazine, a monthly magazine geared toward African American women. The event is expected to draw more than half a million attendees to the Crescent City.Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will all speak at the festival’s keynote event, which will be followed by a Q&A session led by Rev. Al Sharpton, Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks and Essence Ventures Founder and Chair Richelieu Dennis.Harris stakes a unique claim among her rivals at the festival: She’s the only black woman running for president, and the only black woman in the Senate.Harris is far from a stranger to readers of Essence, as just last month the magazine launched “Kamala’s Corner,” an online column where Harris talks directly to voters. And on Wednesday, Rep. Jahana Hayes, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, wrote an op-ed for the magazine titled, “Here’s Why I’m Endorsing Kamala Harris for President.”However Harris will not be the biggest political star in town on Saturday — in fact that honor doesn’t go to any of the 2020 presidential candidates. The biggest star power belongs to former first lady Michelle Obama, who will deliver remarks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.The now-best selling author is a star of the Democratic Party despite having never publicly shown interest in running for office, and she, like her husband, has kept her political preferences about the 2020 Democratic primary largely quiet so far.This weekend’s event will be a chance for the candidates to make a direct appeal to black voters, a demographic that is expected to make up approximately 12.5% of the 2020 electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is campaigning in South Carolina this weekend, currently leads the pack with 41% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning black voters, according to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is expected to be in Nevada this weekend, currently sits at 23% support among those voters.Harris and Warren are making up ground with black voters, according to the poll, seeing support at 11% and 4%, respectively.Warren, a second-term senator from Massachusetts, proposed an executive action on Friday focused on closing the wage gap against women of color. The plan, which Warren said would be implemented on “day one,” would place stringent diversity and transparency requirements on companies contracted with the federal government.”Companies with federal contracts employ roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce,” Warren wrote in a blog post. “By imposing new rules on companies that hope to receive federal contracts, we can take a big step towards creating equal opportunities for Black, Latina, Native American, Asian and other women of color.”Additionally, Warren aims to restructure recruitment, development and promotion processes inside the federal government to tackle what she calls its “dismal” record of diversity.In May, Harris made similar proposals to close the gender pay gap, by requiring companies to disclose salary data or risk financial penalties.Just hours before taking the stage on Friday, Warren penned an op-ed titled, “Elizabeth Warren On Valuing Black Women” for Essence.Harris, Warren, Booker and O’Rourke are expected to speak at Essence on Saturday. Buttigieg will take the stage on Sunday. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.