Toronto, ON – September 17, 2020 – Canadian-born, South Asian Toronto artist, Romana, expands global conversation through sound. Today, she unveils a stunning self-directed video for Melaninsharing the journey a person of colour takes as they shed Eurocentric ideals of beauty, accepting the richness of who they really are. Written by Romana and produced by Jeia, the video was directed by Kyle Boham and produced by Alicia Roberts, filmed in Ontario, Canada at Greig’s Cave on the Bruce Peninsula, and Balmy Beach in Toronto. Watch Melanin here.

“Growing up, I was made fun of by family and community for the ‘darkness’ of my skin - my own parents told me not to play in the sun! Shadeism or colourism is a form of anti-Blackness and a massive issue in the South Asian community and other communities of colour. Europeans asserted a colour-based hierarchy in the colonies they invaded centuries ago that to this day play a role in the skin discrimination people of colour face within their own communities,” Romana says .“This video is the counterpart to a song that celebrates me finally coming out from hiding in the shade I was thrown and unlearning Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Centring me and my experience going from hiding to discovery to acceptance to celebration this video chronicles the self-acceptance journey of a woman of colour. The video starts with me alone in a cave and ends with a beach party with other melanated people. The video will also feature short clips of other melanated people from Toronto expressing joy!”

In April, Romana shared the meaning of Holding Space, through song and discussion. Arriving at a time where space must be given, but questions linger where it should be taken, Romana shares the meanings and messages behind the phrase ‘holding space’ through the R&B-inflected track produced by SLWJMZ (Freddie Gibbs, Ye Ali, Staasia Daniels). As the world experiences collective uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever before to prioritize self-care. 

To support the release, Romana hosted a weekly live series on Instagram – aptly titled Holding Space – sharing performances and engaging discussions on emotional well-being and boundaries with authentic, insightful trailblazing women from various industries. The series kicked off on April 29 with Romana’s live performance of Holding Space, and guest, Raptors In-Game, Digital and TV Host, Kat Stefankiewicz. Additional guests included acclaimed author, stylist and influencer, Sandy Gill (The Sandylion), visual artist and photographer, Briony Douglas, DJ and Music Producer, Jeia, and visual artist Tahsin, and actor, media host and influencer, Kiran Rai. Watch the series on Romana’s IGTV channel, and learn more about her powerful work below.

About Romana:
A self-taught multi-disciplinary artist inspired by the human condition, the cosmos, our ancestors and the spaces in between – Romana experiments with several mediums to express her journey as a woman of colour in Toronto. A true artist, Romana is a singer/songwriter, painter, installation artist and experience designer. As an expressionist and artist, Romana feels that it is her responsibility to use her art as a platform for awareness. Her music specifically lends a voice to the issues and ideas that are important to her and the many diverse communities she belongs to. Romana's music addresses identity, belonging and healing. Topics that are not often addressed in the mainstream, Romana's messages are made accessible and easily consumable through smooth 90s R&B-inspired sounds. Her musical style is definitely a reflection of her experience growing up in a desi household in the 90s. As an experience designer and installation artist, you can expect that any live show or live stream she puts on will definitely be unique and truly something you have never experienced before. Her unique experiences and installations have already been featured in People MagazineTorontoLifeVICE and the Toronto Star. Romana is changing the way we view artists today and giving people everywhere permission to do it all. 

WATCH Melanin

Listen to Melanin:
Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

Listen to Holding Space
Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

DOWNLOAD – Melanin Art (by Nabeel Pervaiz)| DOWNLOAD – Hi Res Press Photo