Female empowerment group to host poetry slam at Chocolate Holler


Chocolate Holler is located at 400 Old Vine St Suite 104, Lexington, KY 40507.

Lauryn Haas

Female empowerment is best celebrated with the support of the community – and a little bit of chocolate.

The Girl Project is hosting a slam poetry night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23 at Chocolate Holler to kick off Voices HEaRd 2018, a weekend of performances raising awareness of the many challenges, issues and experiences of women. Entry is free.

The goal of the event is to “feature the work of several talented spoken word artists in the area … and raise awareness about the Voices HEaRd events” throughout the rest of the weekend, said Jeni Benavides, co-director of TGP and Voices HEaRd. Performances will include TGP alumni, TGP guest artist and writer Donna Ison, Matthew Hutchins, Kaitlin Rucker and Tara Wilkinson.

TGP is a division of Woodford Theatre’s educational program that is an “arts-meets-activism initiative designed to inspire, educate and empower girls of all ages to challenge the misrepresentation of girls and women in American media culture through performing arts education,” Benavides said. TGP hosts a summer program for high school girls, a six-week workshop for middle school girls and Voices HEaRd yearly.

The day of the poetry slam will be a Nonprofit Day for Chocolate Holler, a local chocolate and coffee bar just north of UK’s campus that opened on Jan. 26, 2017. The restaurant is donating 10 percent of its sales directly to TGP. The chocolate shop will also be hosting a celebrity barista hour leading up the start of the slam poetry.

“We met with [TGP] several months back and loved the concept of what they do and what they’re hoping to achieve with this weekend of events for Voices HEaRd,” said Laura Shrake, marketing assistant for A Cup of Common Wealth and Chocolate Holler. “For us, it’s just about continuing to build community however we can – our mission statement is: Embrace Community. Serve Others. Create Culture.”

Madison Plucknett, a theater student at Transylvania University, is a 2014 alum of TGP and will be performing on Friday night.

“I believe The Girl Project gives young women the opportunity to speak their truth and find their voice,” Plucknett said. “I want to help with that journey in whatever way I can.”

Anyone interested in getting involved with TGP is advised to attend the slam poetry event as well as the rest of the events throughout the weekend where information and program dates will be available.

“Women have been continually misrepresented, undermined or undervalued in our culture,” Benavides said. “To change that, we, as in all genders, have to be able to [engage in] dialogue and work together towards understanding and lasting change.”