BLOGGER ARTICLE: The Savvy Sister – Meet Mama Juggs!

The Savvy Sister: Small Changes for Healthier Living

Meet Mama Juggs!

I love Twitter.  It’s where you meet the coolest chicks on the planet! (you know who you are)  One day, as I was tweeting, I noticed one of the chicks I follow also follows Mama Juggs.  I was obviously intrigued by the name.  So I checked out her web site, and I’m so glad I did.

Photo by Jason (Woei-Ping) Chen

Anita Shontel Woodley is the one woman wonder that makes up The Mama Juggs Show.  The show deals specifically with various aspects of breast health.  I spent over an hour on her website and I was so fascinated and amazed at what Anita has created I wanted to share it with everyone. (but first I had to get this cool t-shirt, which my teen-aged daughter immediately swiped from me…my replacement is on its way…)

Here’s a little bit about The Mama Juggs Show and the amazing woman behind it:

SS: Anita, what is your background?

MJ: I was born in Berkeley, California and raised in East Oakland, CA. I am a Radio Journalist/Producer, Certified Priestess/Rev./Intuitive Healer, and Natural Hair Care Specialist.

SS:  Why the involvement with breast health?

MJ:    In 1994, when my mother learned that she had breast cancer, I got involved immediately. At the time I was a college student at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, and was an active member at the Women’s Center. I published articles about my mother’s breast cancer journey and documented the ups and downs of her treatment on VHS tape. Although I was a first year journalism student I went behind the scenes at her doctor’s appointment to capture video of her true essence which remained powerful despite her illness.

photo by Jason (Woei-Ping) Chen

SS: How did you come up with the concept for The Mama Juggs Show?

MJ:  The idea was born at a gathering of artists in Pittsboro, North Carolina. We were all asked to bring a poem, song or anything to share and I brought a piece of paper with the lyrics to a song that my great-grandma Suga Babe would sing about everything I was doing wrong while breast feeding. They loved it! Afterwards an artist named Bud Rudesill encouraged me to write a play about the song my great-grandma called “Titty Milk, Titty Jugg.” But there was one problem, I was not an actress. But as fate would have it, I awoke the next morning and wrote the whole play in 4 hours! I jotted down every story I could remember being told about breasts in my family and there were too many to keep in the show. Seven months later, I rented a theater because the number of people who wanted to see the play exceeded what my friends backyard  Everyone really liked the show. It is still amazing to me that Mama Juggs has received ovations from Cameroon, Africa to Off-Broadway New York. I still get excited reminiscing about all the people and places Mama Juggs has touched.

SS:  Who would you say is your target audience?

MJ:  Anyone looking to adopt another way of thinking when it comes to women’s breast health and our true issues is the audience I want to reach.  My message is especially meant for those touched in some way by breast cancer, so they can learn others ways to handle the illness. The groups includes men as well. People from ages 6 to 95 have shared with me that they’ve found something in Mama Juggs that they can cling to. It is a show that allows you to witness authenticity and power among everyday women.

SS:  How long have you been performing The Mama Juggs Show?

MJ:  The show opened on June 20, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina. This is the third year the Mama Juggs show has been running.

SS:  What is your current schedule for performances?

MJ:  May 9-13th, I will perform five show in the first-ever Atlanta Fringe Festival. I used to work in Atlanta, Georgia as an Associate Producer for CNN, so I feel as if I am coming full circle by performing there.
Currently, I am performing monthly shows in Durham, North Carolina at the Health Touch NC LLC Wellness Center for Alternative Health. I donate 10% of proceeds go to grassroots breast cancer organizations throughout the world.

I also have several talks, panel, and conference showings of Mama Juggs on the horizon, including a June 1, 2012 performance at the Nations Largest Race and Ethnicity Conference (NCORE) in New York, NY. And on April 28, 2012 I will also present Mama Juggs at the Piedmont Health Services and SIckle Cell Agency Women’s Conference in Greensboro, NC.

Lastly, private shows of Mama Juggs are performed in small living rooms, beauty shops and community centers throughout the country. Folks hire me to entertain a minimum of 25 of their friends and family. On March 10, 2012 I was invited to Wytheville, VA to perform in honor of a local breast cancer survivor and she attended the show. Her community also came out to show their support for her brave fight against breast cancer. That was a priceless show, one I shall never forget!

photo by Jason (Woei-Ping) Chen

SS:  What information do you hope women take away from The Mama Juggs Show?

MJ:  I hope women take away that they can live an exciting life meaningful what they are going through. Women are not their illness or circumstances. There is hope and a way to cope that can benefit you if you look within yourself to find what works best for you. By going within for strength and allowing your community to support you on your journey, you become stronger. Through the example of the real women in Mama Juggs,women are encouraged to do the home breast exams, have their loved ones check their breasts, have a mammogram yearly, and be aware of what they put on and in their bodies.

My goal would be that Mama Juggs will continue to serve as a fitting tribute to breast cancer survivors nationwide. I’d like Mama Juggs to provide a subtle, yet bold new view on how to educate the public about breast cancer disparities and women’s issues that affect us all as people. When I am on stage I feel as if I am already seeing this dream realized because I see the hope springing up in the audiences eyes. The best part is after the show when someone whispers to me, “I am going to get my titties checked come Monday!” My goal is also to perform Mama Juggs as long as I am able to in hopes that it becomes a common thread in the fabric of breast cancer education. Bringing humor and perspective to women’s issues surrounding breast health from puberty to old age.

SS:  Wow! I couldn’t agree more with your message!  It sounds like you are really making a difference.  How can we find out more about you and get a killer Mama Juggs t-shirt (like I did!)

MJ:  You can stay up on all things happening with Mama Juggs on the website.
There you will find a reviews, show calendar, video of the my mama behind the scenes at the doctor, an electronic info packet, video/pictures of my performance in Africa, and ways to book a live Mama Juggs performance in your area.

You can find Mama Juggs Merchandise that I created from my dreams on my website at this link

Like Mama Juggs on Facebook

Follow Mama Juggs on Twitter @mamajuggsshow

Thanks Anita! Your message is so important and you’ve created a way to teach us and entertain at the same time.  I am very excited to see you when the show comes to Atlanta in May! I will be wearing my Mama Juggs t-shirt, of course!

I will be sure to post after the show to share my Mama Juggs experience!

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