Variety show features local talent

By Anyssa Roberts| @KyKernel

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The UK Black Voices Choir sponsored a Spring Fling clean comedy show fundraiser Saturday night at Memorial Hall.

All proceeds went toward paying for the Express Yourself Youth Fest, which will take place in July.

The show included performances by comedians Spike Davis and Slo Yo Roll, gospel and inspirational music selections, and a fashion show.

Nicole Johnson, the founder of Nicjo Productions, hosted the event as a way to raise money for the Express Yourself Youth Fest, an opportunity for young artists and musicians to showcase their talents.

Johnson said Nicjo Production’s mission is to bring entertainment to Lexington.

“With Nicjo Productions I am trying to have it so we don’t have to travel down to Louisville to see a play or go to Cincinnati for a concert. I want us to be able to enjoy the art and entertainment we have here in Lexington,” Johnson said.

A performance by the Black Voices Choir kicked off the event. The group performed its rendition of “I Will Bless the Lord,” by award-winning gospel artist Byron Cage.

Immediately after the choir’s performance, Thunderous Praise step team from Total Grace Baptist Church took the stage with a step that got the crowd moving.

Young models worked the stage during the fashion show wearing the latest T-shirt designs by Chris Hudson, the creator and owner of Life’s Journey clothing brand.

“Life’s Journey is an inspirational clothing line, and it’s all about empowering individuals and getting youth to pursue their dreams, so it kind of ties into what this program is doing as far as bringing the community together,” Hudson said.

A final musical performance by Tracy and Ashley Williams, a singing duo from Cincinnati, loosened up the crowd for comedian Slo Yo Roll.

Slo Yo Roll, who has been featured on BET comedy shows, kept the crowd laughing with his old-school style comedy. A few minutes with him opened the crowd up for Spike Davis.

Davis is a Louisville native who now lives in Atlanta. The comedian, actor, writer and musician has toured with Jamie Foxx and performed standup on popular shows like BET’s “Comic View” and HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.”

Davis made light of church, race and common misconceptions about black people, but in good taste. He noted how much he loves and supports people of all races and denominations.

“I like playing in front of crowds where we have a nice mix. Black, white, Asian, Middle Eastern; none of them are bad, just different,” Davis said.

After the show, Davis was outside selling DVDs of his clean comedy standup shows. Davis explained how he got the opportunity to perform at Memorial Hall that night, and his ministry through comedy.

“Nicki and I were Facebook friends, and when she told me the show was going to be for the kids I was on board,” Davis said.

“I just try to do comedy that lifts people’s burdens. A lot of people come out for a comedy show because they want to laugh and stop thinking about their problems for a couple hours. So I feel like that’s my ministry to lighten their load, make them laugh and also to put a positive message out there.”

Johnson said although she was busy running around for most of the show, she heard a lot of laughter and good music coming from inside.

“I think we did well. I have so many people to thank for their donations and their help in making this show a success,” Johnson said.

“All of the performances were amazing. I do not know how much money we raised tonight yet, but … I thank everyone for their support by coming tonight.”