DESMOND, CURTIS, ROMAN & NYRO
by Herb Sosa
Documentary Feature Chronicles the First 10
Years of the Lives of the Twin Sons Born to
Acclaimed Songwriter Desmond Child and His
Lifelong Partner Curtis Shaw
One of the most eagerly awaited films of the year will be
coming to Hawaii. Directed by Heather Winters, TWO: The
Story of Roman and Nyro, documents the 12-year journey
of legendary songwriter Desmond Child and his lifelong
partner Curtis Shaw, and the extraordinary way they met and
connected with Angela Whittaker, the woman who would
carry their twin sons, Roman and Nyro, into the world.
"Gay marriage opponents need to come up with a better
argument than procreation,” states Child. “Gay people are
NOT infertile... we actually can procreate... and our children
deserve married parents. End of discussion, America.”
“We're just living our lives day by day, and we have the same
ups and downs like any other family,” says Shaw. “Love is
love.... and love makes a family. This is our story.”
How did this documentary come about?
Whose idea was it, and what was the goal?
The film began as a video diary conducted by Angela
Whittaker, Roman and Nyro's surrogate mother to document
how she navigated the process of having a child for her
friends and all the feelings that went along with that. A month
or so into her journey, Desmond and I joined in on several
interviews …...and over time the project grew in scope.
Originally we thought we'd be able to show other gay couples
that having children was possible and was a joyful choice,
but as the years and footage mounted, it turned into a much
What we're finding this summer as we support the film at
festivals across the country is that the film especially
resonates with people who recognize that when you're in the
trenches of parenthood, Love is the binding factor in making
a family. Whether you've got a mother and a father, are a
single parent, have two moms or two dads, are adopted or
are a family of mixed race or are a blended family…Love is the guider to truth and Love makes a family.
Roman and Nyro seem like wonderful young men (congrats to all). How did they feel about this attention on their story?
Have they had reactions from other kids?
We're just living our lives and have used a lot of some personal home movie footage in the film, besides conducting interviews with the
boys 2 years ago after we connected with our director, Heather Winters and she conceived the more current interviews with Desmond,
Angela and myself and my mother. We felt that the boys were old enough to tell their own story and speak for themselves. As we were
finishing the film, the idea of some of their school friends seeing the movie felt a bit embarrassing to them. After all, they are 11 year old
boys, and the idea of friends seeing baby pictures of you can be upsetting… imagine having a movie made about you for everybody to see
from home movie footage of you growing up. But over the last couple of months they've mellowed to the whole thing and their biggest
complaint is that Roman wore a Barcelona Soccer jersey and he's now more of a Real Madrid fan. Their friends who have seen it have
been very kind… one little boy asked during the Q&A session after our first screening at the Nashville Film Festival how they had the
confidence to share with the audience such a personal story? It was one of my most moving moments since TWO was released.
Do you find that life in Nashville vs. Miami has had an impact in how you have raised your family?
I believe that you are who you are… and a shift of location doesn't change who you are or how you
live your life… or how you raise your family. Desmond and I come from very different backgrounds,
Desmond being Cuban from Miami and I'm a from the midwest. We bring to parenting our family
history and experiences of growing up where we did. While Des and I loved our time living in Miami
Beach, life is simpler and easier in Nashville. And when I have less stress to deal with I can be
calmer and more present for my boys. People seem to have more time for one another in Nashville
than other places we've lived, and we tend to socialize more. And because things run at a slower
pace, we find that we've been able to form wonderfully rich and deep relationships with our friends.
“This film couldn’t come at a more important moment in our nation’s history when hearts and minds
are fractured and debate rages over equality,” says director Winters. “I’m honored that Desmond and
Curtis entrusted me to tell the world their story and invited me into their lives in such an intimate and
The film is presented by Desmond Child’s film production arm, Deston Films and was
produced by Desmond Child, Curtis Shaw Child and Heather Winters. For nearly three decades,
songwriter and producer Desmond Child has reigned as one of music's most successful creative
forces. His list of accolades includes Grammy awards, 70 Top 40 singles, and songs that have sold
over 300 million albums worldwide.
Over the course of his career, Child has worked with international superstars including Bon Jovi,
Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Cher, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
Desmond, your career has been exceptional so far. How has your sexuality affected your ability to work in the industry, if at all?
I think there was definitely a glass ceiling when it came to producing records as opposed to just writing with a rock band. It was unspoken
but as long as we were on an equal footing as co-writers there was a comfort zone for the usually straight musicians I worked with
however "lording over them" as a producer was a whole other matter. So I got to produce solo artists who were androgynous icons like
Cher, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett & Ricky Martin. Because of my mentor Clive Davis, who recently came out in his new autobiography, I got to
produce solo American Idol stars like Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Diana Degarmo, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice & Ace Young. The
only rock bands I've actually produced are The Rasmus from Finland and Scorpions from Germany. I definitely "lorded over them".
What advice would you give a young Hispanic LGBT kid wanting to work in the music/entertainment industry? Come out? No?
I don't think at this point being "in the closet" is that cool. Being gay gives you a uniqueness that is definitely a desirable plus in show
business. Historically the world of entertainment and the arts has been a safe harbor for us and now more than ever there are no limits to
what an LGBT person can do if they have the drive to get great at it. Not being out pushes down the real person inside and thus whatever
they do is missing something… it's called credibility. Fake people don't sell. Fake people seem untrustworthy because everyone feels
everything in their gut. Fans can sense it and stop buying after the luster of a couple of hit songs. They say that's cause we're all mostly
made of water which is an incredible conduit of energy and information… especially truth.
Curtis, do you have any reservations about being so public with your family/life? How has activism affected this? What would you do
differently if you could?
From the beginning when Desmond and I started navigating the road to parenthood, we kept noticing crazy synchronistic moments that
we could have never planned for or organized, and these stood as spiritual signposts for us showing us that we were exactly where we
were supposed to be and were doing what we were supposed to be doing . There were so many magical markers popping up, and we
understood that these coincidences were not accidents… there must be some reason we were connecting with Angela and her parents
the way we were… as we go through life we're often looking for a deeper understanding of what we're going through and use the markers
to steer us through life. So, while we don't consider ourselves public people, we feel we don't really have a choice but stand up and been
seen. The foundation of our life as a family with our kids is a different version of what my life was growing up in Missouri. We may be two
dads raising kids on the belt buckle of the bible belt, but parenting is parenting…. Love is love… and family is family. I've come to
understand that all parents want the same things for our kids. We want them to be happy, live a life of purpose and find and share love.
Everything has evolved as it was supposed to…. No regrets.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge we face in the LGBT community currently?
Marriage equality is where we're headed. It's inevitable, and the people of this country need to understand that we live in the United States
of America…. Where there is liberty and justice for all. Judgement because of religion has no place in the laws of this land. And unless
the government is going to start giving a GAY DISCOUNT to it's gay citizens to compensate us for the inequality that exists in the system,
then let's all understand that everyone is equal and we are entitled to the same rights, obligations and privileges as everybody else. If the
Supreme Court does not overturn DOMA and rule that Proposition 8 in California is unconstitutional, gay folks should go crazy and Occupy
Washington 'til they give us our gay discount or our rights. Let them blow dry their own damn hair!
Do you think that Roman & Nyro will be open to do a follow up documentary in 10 years, and what do you hope its message will be?
Nothing would make me happier than for Roman and Nyro to want to carry on and use their lives to educate people, and show as proof
that the seeds that we have planted throughout their childhood will give them the roots that ground them to grow strong and tall and give
them wings to fly wherever the light in their hearts take them. Releasing this film has connected all of our families - Desmond's, Curtis,'
and Angela's - to a life of greater purpose that resonates with deeper meaning and contentment.
TWO: THE STORY OF ROMAN AND NYRO
Screening June 14th, June 16th and June 17th at San Fransisco DocFest
Screening June 17h in Los Angeles, at Outfest
Additional festival screenings through the Summer
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You Celebrating 6
Share the Love
of all committed
|Gracias|Thank You Celebrating 6 Years of
through the boys’
first 10 years, TWO
is the personal and
powerful story of
together in magical
ways. TWO is
testament to the
universal power and
ultimate triumph of
love – that it is love
that makes a family,
families may be
modern in their
at their core.