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Play to Honor Jaki Shelton Green, Longtime Literary Friend to Many

Jaki Shelton GreenOn Friday, April 6 at 7:30 pm, Health Touch NC in Durham will present a special performance of the one-woman show, Mama Juggs, an award-winning play about breast health and women’s issues. Inspired by true stories from the playwright’s life, 10 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Breast Health Bra Art Project to Improve Women’s Body Image in honor of Jaki Shelton Green.

Jaki Shelton Green uses poetry to heal and empower disenfranchised populations, including women, children, the incarcerated, and the mentally and physically ill. She was North Carolina’s first Piedmont Laureate (2009) and the 2003 winner of the North Carolina Award for Literature, among many other honors. She has conducted workshops and presented readings throughout the U.S, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. In addition, she continues to teach creative writing to marginalized populations of our society including the homeless, incarcerated, and the writer-as-survivor.

Poet Joseph Bathanti called Jaki Green “North Carolina’s Billie Holliday.” Her publications include Dead on Arrival, Masks, Conjure Blues, and breath of the song, which was cited as one of two Best Poetry Books of the Year by the Independent Weekly. Her poem, “Bring Me Your Breasts,” was performed throughout 2002 in commemoration of breast cancer survivors.

“Jaki Green endorses people who feel they may have something they otherwise might not or could not say. She allows them—especially women—to find their voices.”
—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina poet

Mama Juggs channels the voices of proud African-American women within her family as they struggle with bra stuffing, breastfeeding, and last stage breast cancer—all in the context of the social and economic adversity of the Oakland projects. Actress/playwright Anita Shontel Woodley, who plays three different characters during the performance, wrestles with these issues through a diversity of theatrical styles, including a cappella negro spirituals, comedy, straight talk, improvisation, and audience interactions.

Mama Juggs has been warmly received by audiences across the U.S. Written as a promise to her mother—who died of breast cancer before fifty—it seeks to challenge cultural taboos and stereotypes surrounding breast health and body image. By raising both money and social consciousness, it’s designed to contribute to the winnable campaign against breast cancer.

When: Friday, April 6, 7:30 pm
Where: Health Touch NC LLC (inside community center), 3500 Westgate Dr. – Suite 504, Durham, NC 27707 (near Southsquare, off 15-501), 919-490-4656, www.healthtouchnc.com
Tickets: $15 – $35 (pay what fits your budget) at 1-800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/237066

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