A Note From Playwright Trey Anthony

July 10th, 2018


I come from a legacy of black mothers who have left their children. My grandmother left her children in Jamaica and went to England and was separated from them for six years. My paternal grandmother also left her children in search of a better life. Both of my grandmothers were poor womyn mothering in less than ideal situations. The legacy of mothers leaving continued when my own mother left us in England in search of the Canadian dream. I was left behind…

Even though my family is now reunited, we never fully recovered from these separations. We are womyn who share a complicated herstory of leaving and being left behind. As a result, we are storytellers, telling jokes rather than talking about feelings. Silences feel dangerous and “I love you” is replaced with overflowing plates of rice & peas and chicken. Yet, even with the many things left unsaid, I have no doubt that my mother and grandmother love(d) me and each other fiercely.

When my 80-year old grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, for the first time, she seemed compelled to finally talk about her past. Armed with just an iPhone and pen and paper, I eagerly recorded her response.

Me: “Gran, do you have any regrets?”

Gran: “My biggest regret was leaving my children, they have never forgiven me, especially your mother. Sometimes as a mother you have to do what is best for your children. But they will never understand.” 

How Black Mothers Say I Love You became my own way of trying to understand this complicated herstory of my family.  It is the love letter of understanding… It is written for all those that had to leave, and for those left behind. It is for every mother who is mothering under less than ideal circumstances. It is for every daughter who is trying to find her own place of healing while navigating her own childhood hurts.

We are all hurting, all feeling that we need more love and understanding in our lives. I affirm daily to be kinder, softer, and more loving to everyone I encounter. I wish to hold black womyn and especially my mother, in a kinder, safer, more gentle space. How Black Mothers Say I Love You, is my gentle place, my kinder more forgiving place… There is great love here for you.

I would like to thank my beautiful and amazing life partner, Dr. Vernetta Harris, my grandmothers and mother, and my family/friends for all of their love and support.

I want to truly thank you for coming out to see my play, and  please stay in touch I can be reached on Instagram @blackgirlinlove and on Facebook, under trey anthony.  Please keep spreading the word to ensure diverse stories continue to be told.   Much love.


– Trey Anthony


Trey Anthony was Horizon’s National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence in 2016, during which time Horizon produced her smash hit, Da Kink in My Hair, and workshopped her new play, How Black Mothers Say I Love You.   Both plays were directed by Artistic Associate Thomas W. Jones II and the Black Mothers workshop featured Yvonne Singh and Minka Wiltz in the same roles you’ll see them in for this production.   We are thrilled to present the American premiere of the play after its great success in Canada.