“If you were born with the ability to change someone’s perspective or emotions, never waste that gift,” Shannon L. Alder once wrote. And Crystal Shaniece Roman understands that mission perfectly. The Jamaican-Puerto Rican theater director will bring back the iconic piece “Of Mothers and Men” to New York this May 7.

Through her vibrant grassroots theater and film production company, The Black Latina Movement, Roman shines a spotlight on open cultural secrets through the acclaimed production that made waves over a decade ago. It consists of nine monologues about women, their mothers, and their relationships with men.

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The new cast will perform the culturally significant play May 7-11, 2024, at the Wild Project in the East Village.

A tribute to womanhood

As The Black Latina explained in a press release, “Of Mothers and Men” delves into the storybooks of nine women. It is “an homage to the cycle of gestation. To share with the public the various ways external bonds, from romantic to maternal, influence their relationship with themselves.”

The project delves into the psychological nuances of parent-child relationships in homes of the Black, Latino, and Caribbean diasporas.

Each vignette is a testimony of womanhood. From the confident daughter in love, raised by a maternal narcissist, and the girlfriend healing from spousal abandonment to the woman facing the challenges of matrescence…or the process of entering motherhood. The themes awaken and boldly underscore open cultural secrets.

“Black and brown lives are about more than the pain and trauma that have been woven into the tapestry of our strength. We deserve to have more conversations about our healthy relationship dynamics. As well as more expressions of the complexities that exist within the arts,” Roman said.

Credit: illflix.com

The Black Latina Movement brings real discussions to the theater stage

What began as a hobby for Crystal Shaniece Roman is now a cultural movement that is more necessary than ever. After attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York while pursuing her degree in Marketing and Management at the College of Staten Island, Roman launched The Black Latina Movement in 2008. 

Roman began performing the production company’s first written theatrical piece. It was a one-woman show about the lives of dark-skinned Latinas and African American Latinas titled “Black Latina.”

Credit: illflix.com

“Telling stories and creating characters that resonated with people who don’t often see their stories or themselves was my biggest goal,” Roman said. “That’s what always attracted me to writing, because I wanted to contribute by providing stories and experiences that many people want to see and can relate to, but often don’t.”

Roman and her team want to bring more depth to the nuanced spectrum of the entertainment industry. “Women have so many complexities, and we constantly see a bland, singular version of who we are,” she said. “Through the medium of the arts, now more than ever, we need to showcase the diversity of women and our multiplicities, especially those of women of color.”

“As a storyteller, it is my duty to provide the audience with relief or a source of understanding,” she concluded.