How Black Mothers Say I Love You

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  4w

From the creator of the popular ’da Kink in my Hair comes this powerful and touching tale of immigration, family and sacrifice.

How Black Mothers Say I Love You

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


Hard-working Daphne left her two young daughters in Jamaica for six years to create a better life for them in America. Now, 30 years later, proud and private, Daphne is relying on church and her nearby dutiful daughter to face a health crisis. But when feisty activist Claudette arrives unexpectedly from far away to help out, her arrival stirs up the buried past, family ghosts and the burning desire for unconditional love before it’s too late.
How Black Mothers Say I Love You premiered at the Factory Theatre Mainspace in Toronto on 5 May 2016. Directed by Trey Anthony, the production featured Ordena Thompson, Robinne Fanfair, Allison Edwards-Crewe and Jewelle Blackman.
DAPHNE – Fifty-four-year-old former domestic worker from Jamaica. She has terminal cancer. She is a very religious woman. She’s known for being a bit dramatic and loves to tell a good story; however, she is also a very private and proud woman.
CLAUDETTE – Thirty-seven years old, a social worker, and a social activist. She is Daphne’s eldest daughter. She’s a pretty tomboy type who often wears a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, occasionally she wears red lipstick.
VALERIE – Thirty-five years old, married into money, but “works” at her husband’s office. She is Daphne’s middle daughter. She is pretty and tends to be a bit stiff and proper. She values tradition and the proper way of doing things. She tends to dress like Michelle Obama. She is the peacemaker of the family, and thus often has a nervous energy about her.
CLOE – Daphne’s youngest child. She is “dead,” yet her spirit remains a constant presence in the house. Cloe is seen mainly by Daphne but felt by everyone. Cloe died when she was ten years old from sickle-cell anemia.
  • Time Period New Millennium/21st Century
  • Setting A simple Caribbean-style kitchen in Brooklyn. 2014.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Additional Features Play w/ Music
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


“Sweet, touching and funny, ample in its raw emotion, How Black Mothers Say I Love You can’t help but work its way into your heart.” – Ottawa Tonite

“Anthony plumbs this generational trauma to create a story of poignant truth about racism, colonialism, and their effect on the family… Trey Anthony is a national treasure. ” – Mooney on Theatre

“She's especially adept at switching from the serious to the comic in a few lines, and the audience reacts audibly to certain revelations as well as to the play's moments of intensity and humour.” – NOW Magazine

“Powerful and touching... As the title indicates, of course, one of the play’s themes explores alternate expressions of love, whether it’s leaving the ham bone out of the stewed peas for one’s vegetarian offspring, or finding the perfect hat for a fashion-challenged daughter to wear to church.” – Ottawa Citizen

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
The song "Pink Hat" is mandatory for performance. All other music and sound cues are optional, though the playwright strongly encourages their use. Licensees can use original compositions or melodies in the public domain in place of the optional included music. Licensees using the optional music should use the violin melodies for references when Cloe hums or sings. 

All music is composed by Gavin Bradley, except "Hearts Don't Work" is composed by Gavin Bradley and Natasha Davis.


Act 1
1. "Traveling"
2. "Traveling (Gospel Version)"
3. "Cloe's Theme"
4. Traveling (Instrumental)
5. Bringing Daphne Upstairs
6. Traveling (Gospel Version, Instrumental)
7. Tension
8. "The Lord Is My Shepherd"
9. Sound Effect: Phone Ringing
10. "Pink Hat" – Mandatory for performance. Licensees can sing live with the track or use the recorded track with vocals
11. "I Am Right Here"
12. Traveling (Instrumental)

Act 2
13. "Hearts Don't Work"
14. "Hearts Don't Work (Reprise)"
15. "What a Mighty God We Serve"
16. Sound Effect: Phone Ringing
17. Purgatory
18. "Inhabiting the House"
19. Heaven
20. Walk Towards the Light
21. Sound Effect: Chair Squeak
22. "Traveling (Reprise)"
23. Suggested Curtain Call ("Pink Hat" Instrumental)
Lead Sheets
Tracks and Sound Effects


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Trey Anthony

Trey Anthony is a bad-ass Jamaican-British-Canadian, truth-teller, award-winning writer, and wellness expert. She’s the girl to call when you want to turn your inner shame into success!

Trey is known as the “Oprah of Canada,” the first Black woman in Canada to have her own pri ...

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