Jamaican-Puerto Rican director to launch production in May

Crystal Shaniece Roman, founder of the Black Latina Movement.
Photo by Francky Ade Photography

Crystal Shaniece Roman, founder of the Black Latina Movement, will be premiering her theater production, Of Mothers and Men (OMAM), from May 7-11 at the Wild Project Theater in the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan.

This comes more than a decade after a multi-city tour. With a new cast and piercing monologues, Of Mothers and Men (OMAM) journeys into the storybooks of nine women, a homage to the gestation cycle, to share with audiences the varying ways external bonds, from romantic to maternal, influence their relationship with themselves.

The project delves into psychological nuances of parent-child relationships in households from Black, Latin, and Caribbean diasporas.

“Black and Brown lives are more than the pain and trauma that has 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,” said Roman.

Roman is a native New Yorker, third generation on her mom’s side and second generation on her dad’s. She had summer visits as a child to Puerto Rico and she has had visits to Jamaica as an adult.

It may surprise people to know that her favorite food is soup. “I am down to try almost any type of soup,” she said.

For Roman, it is difficult to say she has been influenced by just one person. “I have been influenced by so many women in my family, from my mom to my late grandmother, to icons in our community that I pay homage to in one of my plays such as the ‘Williams Sisters and Celia Cruz,’” she added.

Her purpose behind starting the Black Latina Movement, and creating the production was filling a void in front and behind the camera/stage, while also providing a space for Black Latina and Caribbean women.

The concept for OMAM is the ability for women to speak their piece in peace, according to Roman. During the production, viewers and audience members have the privilege to be a fly on the wall in these intimate moments.

“It is always enriching for me as an artist to work with creatives in my community. The exchange of energies and creativity is what makes it all worthwhile. There are so many talented women in our communities that don’t get the spotlight they deserve so it is always my goal to find them and give them that. Mother’s Day is everyday and women need to be celebrated always and not relegated to a day,” she continued.

With the production, Roman wants “people to see themselves if not in one, but hopefully multiple characters.”

Roman wants to be remembered as someone who was not afraid, who maintained her integrity and loved her community through and through. “I want younger generations to stand on my shoulders as I stand on those of my ancestors and continue to reach higher,” she added.

Showtimes for the production are 8 p.m. on May 7 – May 10, and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/of-mothers-and-men-tickets-829676724417?aff=oddtdtcreator.