An evening of comedy dubbed Lipstick ’N Laughter has been organized by lifestyle and consumer brand The Power of Lipstick, aiming to bring women of color together on July 5 at the Joy Theater, as the annual Essence Music Festival draws thousands nearby.

Hosted by Sherri Shepherd, the event features stand-up comedy and routines by Emmy Award nominee Kym Whitley, who performs with comedian, writer and actor David A. Arnold. Local comedians Maija Di Giorgio, Geneva Joy and Pretty Ricki will also take the stage to expose their comedic talents to a diverse audience. Black Girls Giggles, a New Orleans-based collective of black comedians, will showcase their routine during the pre-show.

“The beauty of comedy is that these women have the intelligence and the power for what it is that we all feel and what we see; it’s the community feeling,” says Martine Charles, CEO and founder of The Power of Lipstick. “The show will be powerful, moving and funny."

While the event itself will be lighthearted, Charles hopes it will also leave the audience with a deeper sense of empowerment. Lipstick 'N Laughter  serves to benefit the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies.

Charles says Lipstick ’N Laughter focuses on shared experiences.

“We want them to gain self-esteem, we want women to talk to each other and lift our own voices so that we are able to thrive," Charles says. "We partnered with (the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies) because they focus on inner beauty, self-esteem, and helping people determine their value. "

She praised the organization for its work with women, children and families in marginalized communities, as it helps them deal with mental well-being. 

Part of the mission of The Power of Lipstick is to provide safe beauty products, especially for women of color, who the group says is more likely to be marketed cosmetics with toxic ingredients. During and after the show, Power of Lipstick will be hosting a pop-up “Lipstick Bar” on Poydras and Magazine streets, from Thursday through Sunday.