by: Maria Luna
Latin Trends is proud to bring you Crystal Shaniece Roman and Apryl G. Lopez, founders of Black Latina Movement; a bourgeoning media company formed by two native New York Afro Latinas committed to promoting the image of the Afro Latina in film and theater.
The company formed four years ago by producing the one-woman play, “Black Latina,” and has since grown to develop a film adaptation of the play, “Memoirs of a Black Latina,” a television series, “The Colors of Love” and the independent film, “My Sisters, Mis Hermanas,” set for production this summer.
Although the two actresses established the company as a means of promoting Afro Latinas in entertainment, they found that the company was immediately dubbed a social and cultural movement. Both women were soon perceived in the industry not only as actresses and business partners, but also philanthropists.
The young entrepreneurs and best friends met in high school. “We shared a lot of experiences in terms of identity and certain struggles, so we sort of clung to each other, ” explained Lopez. When asked where the two find the courage to defend their Afro Latina identity in a society where assimilation can be extremely beneficial, Roman immediately replied, “The power is in education. We pushed that in our company. It’s about educating yourself and others, committing to research into your ethnic background. More Africans were sent to Latin America during the Atlantic Slave Trade than to the United Sates. It’s important to know that.”
The ladies of Black Latina Movement went on to speak candidly with Latin Trends about the effect cultural identity has had their relationships within family, work, and love. They had much to share on raising black Latino sons, building their brand, and continuing to echo that old and very true saying, Black is Beautiful.