Friday, March 2, 2012

NYC Fundraiser - PinkSpeak: Breast Cancer Journeys in Poetry, Music & Prose - March 7

The Inspired Word Presents PinkSpeak: Breast Cancer Journeys in Poetry & Prose – a breast cancer fundraiser in Manhattan, New York City.

Hosted by actor/writer Jenny Saldaña and featuring OBIE award winning playwright Susan Miller, singer/songwriter/actress Mimi Ferraro, actress Jodie Bentley, singer/writer Khadijah Carter, actress/poet Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, writer Pamela Grossman, and poets Sarah Herrington, Jennifer Edwards (AKA Jen/ed), Robert Quote Rosa, Alicia Young, and Deborah Collage Grison.

Dedicated to the memory of poet/author Pamilla DeLeon-Lewis, a beautiful, inspiring lady who performed in last year's PinkSpeak and passed away on January 6, 2012, and Dorothy Geffner, mother of Inspired Word founder/producer Mike Geffner.

The event will donate 100% of the proceeds evenly between two outstanding organizations, Young Survival Coalition ( and The Pink Daisy Project (

And even if you cannot attend, you can STILL support by buying advance tickets online ( or donating directly to either or both organizations.


When: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Where: 116
116 MacDougal Street
(between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane)
Downstairs Lounge
Manhattan, NY 10012
(212) 254-9996
(917) 703-1512

By subway, take the A, B, C, D, E, F to West 4th Street-Washington Square.

Doors open @ 6:30pm

Event starts @ 7pm

Minimum Donation: $15 (though you are certainly welcome to give more)


"The Inspired Word isn't just a series, it's a movement."


Susan Miller, a breast cancer survivor, is an Executive Producer/writer of the award winning webseries Anyone But Me, now in its third season with over 11 million views worldwide. A Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting and two time Obie winner for My Left Breast and Nasty Rumors And Final Remarks, Miller also won the coveted Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play, A Map Of Doubt and Rescue. Her plays have been produced by The Public Theatre, Second Stage, The Mark Taper Forum, and Naked Angels, among others. A consulting producer/writer on The L Word and Thirtysomething, Miller has written feature screenplays for Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, and was honored as one of Power Up’s “Amazing Gay Women In Show Business.” She is also the creator and writer of Bestsellers, a branded webseries. For her work on Anyone But Me, Miller (and creative partner, Tina Cesa Ward) won the 2011 Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media. For more info, please check out

Mimi Ferraro, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 29, is a singer, songwriter, actress, essayist, and Vinyasa yoga teacher. Her performing credits include the Broadway National Tour of RENT, The Donkey Show (Off-B'way), Law & Order: SVU, As the World Turns, and many independent films, including the upcoming Concussion. She has fronted two NY-based rock bands, and is currently writing a full-length rock musical about young-adults with cancer. She teaches Vinyasa yoga at the Brooklyn Yoga Cooperative, of which she is a co-founder, and yoga for women who have/had cancer at Yoga Vida in Manhattan. For more info, please visit

Jenny Saldaña is an actor, writer and most importantly a five-year breast cancer survivor. She has dedicated her life to helping women and families dealing with breast cancer especially those like her who were diagnosed under the age of 40. She will soon be featured in a major motion picture that she's not allowed to name yet and will be producing and staring a web series written and directed by the wonderful Linda Nieves Powell. For more info, please check out

Jodie Bentley is an accomplished actor as well a a breast cancer survivor. She’s appeared Off-Broadway in Captain Louie (and the Original Cast Album), The A Train (RE) Plays, Girl Gang; in regional theature in Annie Get Yor Gun (Annie Oakley), They're Playing Our Song (Sonia), Sylvia (Sylvia), Prelude To A Kiss (Rita), and on TV in One Life To Live (recurring), Guiding Light, As The World Turns, and a ton of commercials. She’s performed leading roles in workshops at the York Theatre, New World Stages, and The Workshop Theatre. She is also an NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate, a co-owner of The Savvy Actor., and a proud AEA Member. For more info check out

Khadijah Carter, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 28, is an inspirational singer, prolific writer, and spokesperson for breast cancer survivors. She has traveled nationally and internationally on behalf of the Young Survival Coalition to bring more awareness to the healthcare industry about young women with breast cancer. In 2007 and 2008, she was a model for the Avon Foundations print PSA Breast Cancer campaign, which was featured in The Oprah Magazine, People, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Elle. She is often asked by the media to share her testimony and has been profiled on The CBS Early Show, BET, The Montel Williams Show, and others. She released a CD: This Day: A Compilation of Inspirational Songs & Poems; proceeds benefit various non-profit organizations.

Sarah Herrington, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, is an author, poet, and yogi living in New York City. She was recently celebrated by Oprah as a “Poet to Watch.” She has published a collected work of poetry, Always Moving, spanning 10 years of publication/readings/work/mentorship, and a book about teaching kids yoga, Om Schooled. Her poetry also appears in the anthology Bowery Women alongside writers Sapphire and Anne Waldman as well as dozens of online and print journals. Her short Young Adult-focused fiction is featured in Francesca Lia Block’s upcoming anthology, Love Magick and the anthology Just Like A Girl and she is completing a YA novel. Sarah is a grateful member of the Bowery Poetry Club community and has read at the Cornelia Street Cafe, Bluestockings Bookstore, and St. Marks Poetry Project. Sarah has worked for Gotham Writers’ Workshop and has taught and mentored teen girl writers in the NYC public school system through Girls Write Now. Sarah is a graduate of New York University’s English and Creative Writing programs and has been a passionate reader/writer all her life.

Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, a breast cancer survivor, is an award winning actor, poet/spoken word -recording artist via her own production company Talking Poems and Storytelling Productions. Gha’il performs her one-woman show with live musical accompaniment throughout the tri-state area and the country bringing to light the inner complexities of every day characters with raw simplicity and humor. From classrooms to college campuses, nightlife venues to Lincoln Center, The Schomberg, The Knitting Factory and Symphony Space of New York, she motivates, uplifts and inspires audiences with words and phrases that stick to your ribs. Talkin. Her debut CD Spiritual Eclipse/ Sacred Moments on a String of Words is a collage of music and spoken-word, a portrait of self-discovery, self-love and renewal. She is the recipient of the 2010 Soul Purpose Award and currently on the public speaking circuit, raising her voice to ignite “self-empowerment and creativity." “She’s authentic, talented, mesmerizing and a breath of fresh air," Les Brown, author and speaker, says of her. For more info, please visit

Jennifer Edwards (AKA JEN/ed) has performed dance, theater, and spoken word around the world - from the windows of Grand Central Station to the streets of Shanghai China. She’s earned titles including Sister Spit Slam Champion, a Fresh Fruit award, and nominations for both a Just Pain Folks Award and an Outmusic Award. Her poetry and prose have been published in collections including Estrology, The Mom Egg, and the International Museum of Women. Her dance films have appeared in unusual spaces, such as the Martha Stewart’s Whole Living website, and the Solar One Festival. Jen's mom, who suffered from breast cancer as well as uterine and liver cancer, died when Jen was 15. Currently Jen writes for the Huffington Post, and is about to release her first app called home/body.

Alicia Young is a poet, pacifist, mortician, actress, musician, medicine woman, mother of twins, and reveler who hails from Kentucky's Bourbon Trail. She has been featured in, as well as contributed to American Funeral Director and American Cemetery Magazines, and the Moronic Ox Literary & Cultural Journal, as well as the Montucky Review. She is the grandaughter of survival, a culmination of her foremother's enduring will, women who fought, so that she may live.

Pamela Grossman is a Brooklyn-based journalist and creative writer. Her articles and essays have been published in the Village Voice, Ms, Essence, and, among other outlets, and her poems have been published in various journals and in the anthology Women. Period. She is also a healthcare advocate and has travelled the halls of Congress for meetings with her representatives on issues of breast cancer and its treatments, especially in relation to young women. She is grateful for four years (and counting) of her own breast cancer survivorship, but looks toward a world in which not one more life will be lost to the disease.

Deborah Collage Grison, a native of Chicago, Ilinois, is the sister, niece, and best friend of breast cancer survivors. She has been writing for over twenty years and has performed across the country and overseas. Her work appears or is upcoming in anthologies such as Reverie, Mourning Katrina, dark phrases, NAACP Image Award nominated Check the Rhyme, P(oem)M(emoir)S(hort story), Lumina and Ninth Letter. Not only is she a poet, author, vocalist and lyricist, but also a scholar and is a candidate for her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University. Deborah Collage received her Master of Fine Art in Creative Writing-Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2006. Her latest work was released April 2010 entitled A LOVE SUPREME: a poemoir and is a memoir of her life with love from the ages 15-37. It received reviews from renown author, poet Nikki Giovanni, The Voice of BET, Brooklyn, New York’s Laureate former Poet Dennis Nurkse, producer and author Nathan H. Williams, comedian Erica F. Watson and others. She currently lives in Harlem, New York.

Poet/spoken-word artist Robert Rosa III AKA Quote, whose aunt was struck by breast cancer, is a native of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the founder of Nottatrend: Christian Poets Cafe in Jersey City, NJ. He has competed in many poetry slams, including at the Nuyorican Poets Café, LouderArts, and the Jersey City Slam. He recently placed 2nd in The Inspired Word's 1st NYC Slam Master Jam Championship. He is active in both the New York City and New Jersey poetry scene and has mentored young, aspiring poets/writers at local public/after-school programs. He has also led successful workshops within his community. The video of his spoken word piece “Dreams Kill Kings,” a dedication to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has been critically acclaimed and is referenced by pastors, community leaders, teachers, and professors. He is currently working on publishing his first book.

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