The Award-Winning Breast Health Show About True Women’s Issues
By Solo Performer, Anita Shontel Woodley
Award-winning Creator Of “Mama Juggs” To Launch New One-Woman Show
Oakland Native Confronts Breast Cancer And Black Male Struggle In Double Feature
For the last three years, Anita Shontel Woodley has used her play – Mama Juggs – to raise consciousness and money for the battle against breast cancer. After dozens of performances and honors, she’s set to debut a new production. Inspired by true stories from her life, The Men In Me is an intimate performance about the Black men in her family as they fight to overcome desperate circumstances. Woodley, an Oakland native, will bring both shows to The Fellowship of Humanity Hall in Oakland on August 24 at 8:00 p.m.
Mama Juggs and The Men In Me are complementary works that explore the trials and triumphs of black folk. The Men In Me tells the stories of Black males – young and old, straight and gay, liberated and incarcerated – who hunger to grow beyond bleak circumstances and dismal statistics. Their chosen roads – whether dead-ending or circling back or opening up – helped shape Woodley into the woman she is today. This show features live bass guitar and original social justice poetry.
Mama Juggs channels the voices of three generations of Black 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. Written as a promise to her mother – who died of breast cancer before 50 – it seeks to challenge cultural taboos and stereotypes surrounding breast health and body image. Woodley wrestles with these issues through a diversity of theatrical styles, including a cappella negro spirituals, comedy, straight talk, improvisation, and audience interaction. Special guest Augusta Lee Collins – a West Coast Blues Hall Of Famer – will infuse Mama Juggs with live guitar.
Woodley, based in Chapel Hill, NC, is an award-winning journalist for The Story with Dick Gordon, which airs on KPCC-FM 89.3, and is the 2012 Durham Arts Council’s Emerging Artist in Drama. In 2010, after tracing her maternal roots to the Tikar people of central Africa, she brought Mama Juggs across the Atlantic and was the first in her family to reconnect with their ancestral tribe.
This project is made possible by an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant from the Durham Arts Council, with support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
To view the trailer and for more information, visit www.mamajuggs.com