For over two years, activist, filmmaker, and writer Agunda Okeyo has added comedy curator to her entrepreneurial efforts, producing an all-woman-everything series in New York City entitled, “Sisters Of Comedy.”
The latest installment is set for Thursday, July 7 at the legendary Caroline’s on Broadway and will feature comedians Chloe Hilliard from Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, Aminah Imani from Essence, GQ‘s Sydnee Washington and Sunda Croonquist from The View. Thursday’s set is not exclusive to women; Judah Freelander from NBC’s 30 Rock and Wyatt Cenac from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, is scheduled to make an appearance.
Okeyo and her production company, Africa Underground, curated “Sisters Of Comedy” to give female comedians of color an outlet, as they find laughs in the trauma of Black pain and walking in womanhood.
While we reflect on the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, 32, and Philando Castile, 37 – both incidents caught on camera as their Black bodies were shattered by police bullets – Okeyo says this week’s event comes at a crucial time.
“As much as I couldn’t have foreseen the gruesome tragedy that took the life of Alton Sterling, laughter is an authentic means of addressing minor and major hurts,” she said in an interview with NewsOne.
Sterling was selling CDs in front of a local store in his Baton Rouge, Louisiana, neighborhood and was shot several times by police after officers pinned him to the ground.
On Thursday morning, the world woke up to news about Castile, who died after an officer shot him in front of his girlfriend and her daughter during a traffic stop outside of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Okeyo says our ability to heal is resilient and we have constantly relied on humor to ease our suffering.
“The African diaspora has always turned to wit and humor in times of confusion, pain and struggle for communion and uplift; this moment is no different,” Okeyo said.
Thursday’s “Sisters Of Comedy” event is sponsored in conjunction with Black Lives Matter and a portion of the proceeds will go towards a fund set up for BLM activist Jasmine Abdullah Richards. Richards was arrested last June in Pasadena, California, and convicted of “felony lynching.”
The charge stems from allegations that Richards attempted to free a fellow protester who was arrested by police. Richards was released from prison on June 18.
“I’m honored to share my bullhorn in standup comedy with vital social justice initiatives like the Black Lives Matter Network (BLM). I initiated this connection as an activist in support of other activists,” Okeyo said.
A stellar list of entertainers have made appearances at the event over the last two years, including SNL’s Sasheer Zamata, iconic feminist Gloria Steinem, activist Michaela Angela Davis, and legendary actress Jane Fonda. “Sisters Of Comedy” has been featured in The New York Times and was selected as a Critic’s Pick in Time Out Magazine.
Stick with us at NewsOne for upcoming exclusive coverage of the event.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Instagram